Nigeria’s Under-20 girls, Falconets, will this evening begin their Group D campaign of the 9th FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup against perennial foes Germany in Saint Malo, France.
In yesterday’s opening encounter, Mexico edged Brazil 3-2 in an interesting affair in Dinan/Léhon.
After falling in the final of the 2010 and 2014 championships to the same Germans, Coach Chris Danjuma and his ladies must have conjured up some tricks aimed at ending the second fiddle role to the Europeans.
“It is a good thing we are meeting Germany in our first match. If you want to be a champion, you have to overcome strong forces on the way. We are starting the tournament knowing that there is no easy route to the top, and that we have to give our best in every minute of the competition,” observed Coach Danjuma on the eve of the cracker in St Malo.
The Falconets delegation landed in France on Thursday, and trained on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the team attended a FIFA Ethics Workshop. Their official training session ahead of today’s clash took place at the Stade de Marville yesterday afternoon.
Effervescent forward Gift Monday must play carefully in order to avoid a yellow card that could knock her out of Thursday’s clash with Haiti, having been cautioned in the Nigeria team’s final qualifying match against South Africa in Benin City early in the year.
The Falconets are loaded to the hilt with proven performers. Captain Oluwakemi Famuditi and Glory Ogbonna would be expected to keep things tight at the back, while Christy Ucheibe and Peace Efih would be saddled with the responsibility of pushing the ball upfront for the experienced and efficient Rasheedat Ajibade and the starry-eyed but clinical Anam Imo.
The Falconets will take on Haiti at the same venue on Thursday, before closing the group D attrition with China at the Stade de Clos Gastel in Dinan/Lehon on Monday next week.
Meanwhile, Eminent world citizens, including the President of Nigeria Football Federation and 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, and ranking Member of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, Hon. Ayo Omidiran will cheer Falconets against German in Saint Malo today.
Pinnick flew into Paris yesterday from the United Kingdom before making his way to Saint Malo.
Respected lawmaker Omidiran, an illustrious financier and ardent supporter of women’s football for several decades now, is a Member of the House of Reps’ Committee on Sports and Youth Development and Chairman of the NFF Women’s Football Committee.
Nigerian girls have finished as runners-up on two previous occasions.