Falconets battle ready for Canada – Danjuma


Anthony Nlebem

Nigeria’s Falconets will be looking to end the group phase of the U-20 Women’s World Cup unbeaten when they take on Canada on Thursday.

The game comes up at the Estadio Alajuela Morera Soto in the early hours of Thursday (3am) Nigerian time.

The Falconets defeated France and South Korea to book their quarter-final ticket, but head coach, Chris Danjuma, is determined to earn the maximum points as they play Canada in the final game of Group C.

“We would like to make it three wins out of three to maintain a great mental state – the winning mentality. If we are used to winning, it would be difficult for any team to bring us down,” Danjuma said.

“It would be a mistake to reduce our pace and zest simply because we have qualified for the quarter-finals. The best way to do it, always, is to consider each match as a task that must be accomplished and not slow down. We will still meet tougher teams ahead and the winning mentality is what will sustain us.”

Canada, who hosted the tournament eight years ago when Nigeria reached the final for the second time, are riding an impossibility wave after losing their first two games to Korea and France, with a disadvantage of four goals.

With Nigeria already qualified, the battle for the second spot from Group C is a straight one between South Korea and France, who play simultaneously (3am Nigeria time) at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose. Both teams have three points each.

Danjuma might be opting for the line-up he deployed against South Korea on Sunday night. Goalkeeper Omini Oyono showed improved composure and ball handling, and the steel and awareness of captain Oluwatosin Demehin, Omowumi Oshobukola, Jumoke Alani and Rofiat Imuran is sustaining the two-time runners-up quite well at the back.

Falconets playmaker and midfield marshal Esther Onyenezide, scorer of the scorcher that downed South Korea, and forward Flourish Sebastine, who netted the winner against France, are also expected to be in the flow alongside Chioma Olise, Bashirat Amoo, Joy Jerry and the tireless Mercy Idoko.