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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 record holder,  Ebi assures of Super Falcons’ win in Monday’s Irish clash

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It could be a clash of teams with contrasting fortunes as Nigeria face Ireland in their final Group B match on Monday.

While Nigeria’s Super Falcons are looking forward to the knockout stage, Monday’s match will be the end of the road for the already eliminated Ireland.

But it will not be a stroll in the park for the Nigerian side, knowing fully that Australian fans will be solidly behind the Irish side for the obvious reasons.

Perhaps it is on that account that history -making Super Falcons captain Onome Ebi remarked that her players tare gingered and in a super positive mood ahead of the match.

The 40 – year old became  the oldest women to have featured at this edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup when she was introduced into the game against co-hosts Australia at the same venue on Thursday.

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She’s also one of the few women, and the only one from the African continent, to have played in six finals, alongside Brazil’s Marta and Canada’s Christine Sinclair.

“We are very positive and looking forward to the match. The mood in camp is great and everyone is in high spirits. The win against Australia has given us the belief and the confidence to face any team. We will play for a win.

“We want Nigerians all over the world to continue to support us and believe in the team. That alone gives us great motivation. We have won one match and drawn one. We want to set the record of not losing any match in the group phase and topping our group.”

When the Falcons reached the knock-out rounds in the USA in 1999, the team lost to hosts USA before defeating North Korea and Denmark to make the quarter-finals. Mercy Akide and Rita Nwadike scored in the 2-1 win over North Korea, while Akide and Nkiru Okosieme scored in the 2-0 win over Denmark.

In 2019, when they reached the Round of 16, the nine-time African champions lost 0-3 to Norway and 0-1 to hosts France, on either side of a 2-0 defeat of South Korea, with Asisat Oshoala scoring after an own goal by the Koreans.

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“We know we still have a job to do; we are not deterred. We simply go in there and play for a win,” Ebi added.

The Falcons, top of the pool with four points, take on the ‘Girls in Green” on Monday night starting from 8pm Australia time (11am Nigeria time) with the Irish already eliminated from the tournament.

Co-hosts Australia tackle Canada in the other match of the group that will be played simultaneously. The Canadians are also on four points, with the Matildas on three.

With a win in mind, Nigeria could start with a forward-line of record-breaker Asisat Oshoala, and Uchenna Kanu (who scored the first goal against Australia), with Rasheedat Ajibade and Ifeoma Onumonu operating from the wings.

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup

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The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”

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Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!

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Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.

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The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

‘It shall be showers of goals’, vows Flamingos ahead of Liberia clash

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Head Coach Bankole Olowookere is confident that the Nigeria U17 girls, Flamingos, will not take their feet off the pedal when they take on their Liberian counterparts in a FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying match in Abuja on Friday.

“We are battle-ready for the match on Friday. The girls are raring to go because they want to go to the World Cup. They are already dreaming of flying to the Dominican Republic.

“There is so much excitement in camp, and they are self-assured. However, I have warned them that it is never over until it is over. There should be no display of over-confidence on the pitch. We must approach the match like the first leg was a drawn game.”

Nigeria won the first leg 4-1 in Monrovia on Sunday, with 11-goal qualifying series revelation Harmony Chidi, Shakirat Moshood, Peace Effiong and substitute Blessing Ifitezue banging in the goals for the Flamingos. The hosts got their consolation goal off a penalty awarded with five minutes left of the encounter at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.

The Flamingos will take part in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup for the seventh time once they cross Friday’s hurdle.

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They featured at the inaugural edition in New Zealand in 2008, and subsequently at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, Azerbaijan 2012, Costa Rica 2014, Jordan 2016 and India 2022, where they won the bronze medals.  

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