Nigeria’s U-17 women’s team the Flamingos have set up a potentially explosive clash against the US women’s team in the quarter-finals of the ongoing U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
The Flamingos defeated Chile 2-1 in the third match of Group B to book their place in the last eight at the Bhubaneswar stadium on Monday.
Blessing Emmanuel scored an early goal for Flamingos in the fourth minute, following an assist from Ajakaiye Opeyemi to give Nigeria the lead.
Bisola Mosaku’s strike off a free-kick by dead-ball artist Miracle Usani in the 82nd minute was enough to see Nigeria through, despite Rovemer Tali converting a late penalty for Chile.
Opeyemi Ajakaye won the Player of The Match Award.
The Flamingos will slug it out with Group A winners the United States in the quarter-finals at the DY Patil Stadium on Friday, October 21.
Former Super Falcons assistant coach Maureen Mmadu charged the Flamingos not to be intimidated when they confront the Americans.
“I have to congratulate the girls for qualifying for the quarter-final stage and also encourage them to continue putting on the Nigerian spirit and fly the Nigerian flag high in India. The girls should approach the game (versus US) with confidence, they should not look down on themselves, they should go there and give it their all because this is the knockout stage,” Mmadu told The PUNCH.
“Anything can happen in football, the USA are beatable, you don’t go inside the field with a mindset of losing a match. The USA team might also be scared of the Flamingos; they should play their game and give 150 per cent on the pitch.
“The girls should play to instruction and not feel inferior when they take on their opponents. They are all in the same competition, the difference is just the colour.”
As was the case against New Zealand on Friday, the Flamingos created several opportunities that were not converted, but head coach Bankole Olowookere assured the team would get even better as the tournament progressed.
“We missed a number of chances again, but I like the spirit of the team and we will get better as we go on in the competition. I am happy we made it into the last eight, and that we sustained our winning mentality despite the fact that we only needed a draw to sail through.”
Germany’s 3-1 win over New Zealand in the other match of Group B meant the Germans finished with the maximum nine points in the group phase, scoring a total of 11 goals and conceding only two.
Nigeria finished with six points, and a +5 goals advantage after scoring seven goals and conceding only two in Group B.
The US defeated Morrocco 4-0 to top Group A with seven points with a +12 goals advantage, while Brazil thrashed host nation India 5-0 to also scoop seven points with a +6 goals advantage.