Olowookere eyes U-17 W’Cup ticket

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By: Ebenezer Bajela

Flamingos head coach, Bankola Olowookere, is confident his side will make up for their first leg 1-1 draw in Bamako and beat Burkina Faso when both sides meet in the second leg of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup third-round qualifying fixture in Abuja on Saturday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The FIFA World Cup bronze medalists could only convert one of their numerous chances and were made to pay for it after the hosts scored a late goal to restore parity.

After getting the breakthrough through Harmony Chidi 10 minutes into the second half, the Flamingos wasted several chances to extend their lead before poor communication between goalkeeper Ijeoma Uzoma and the defence handed Burkina Faso a lifeline in the 84th minute as Rainata Oubda made no mistake to draw level.

The two West African teams are set to clash in the second leg at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday and Olowookere said they’ve learnt from their mistakes, assuring Nigerians that they would get a favourable result.

“After the 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso, we had to sit down and analyze the game after watching it over and over again and I carved out some areas that we needed to work on,” he told PUNCH Sports Extra.

“We didn’t utilise our goalscoring chances very well because if we had done that we would have been three goals ahead in the first half. In the second half, we also had chances but we didn’t convert them and after they scored we had one or two chance, which we didn’t make good use of.

“We will need to work on this area and our defence will need to ensure we don’t concede. In the first leg, we also allowed them to force us into playing to their style, which we will not allow in Abuja. We’ve learnt our lessons and we know these girls are young but I have high hopes and I believe we will get the result in Abuja.

“I don’t like to boast but I can assure Nigerians that we will turn the table around in Abuja and we will qualify for the World Cup.”

The winner between the Flamingos and Burkina Faso will progress into the final qualifying round.

This year’s FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup will take place in the Dominican Republic.

The 16-team tournament will run from October 16 to November 3, 2024.