World Cup bronze medallists, Flamingos have been named the Sportsperson of the Year 2022 by Leadership Newspapers Group Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading media companies.
The honour will be bestowed on Nigeria’s U17 girls at the 2022 Leadership Annual Conference and Awards scheduled for the Abuja International Conference Centre on Tuesday, 31st January 2023.
In its notice of the Flamingos’ selection after a diligent process by the Awards’ Nomination and Selection Committee, the newspaper company wrote: “Amid several nominees with excellent credentials, you have been selected for this prestigious award for winning Nigeria’s first-ever medal at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, the second African team to achieve the feat after Ghana in 2012…the selection board found the team most qualified as the LEADERSHIP Sportsperson of the Year 2022.”
It can be recalled that the Flamingos arrived in India for last year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup having chalked up 15 goals in six African qualification matches, and having played in all previous editions of the tournament bar the 2018 finals in Uruguay.
In India, the Flamingos lost narrowly 1-2 to Germany in their opening match, before hammering New Zealand 4-0 and edging Chile 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals. In the quarter-finals, they defeated USA 4-3 on penalties after both teams ended regulation and extra time 1-1.
In the semi-finals, Colombia proved too tough on penalties after a 0-0 draw following regulation and extra time, and in the third-place match, the Nigerian girls outclassed Germany 3-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw. Incidentally, Germany were Ghana’s victim when Nigeria’s fierce West African rivals won Africa’s first medal (bronze) in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan in 2012.