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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Jamaica and Colombia battle on the pitch after partying at nightclub

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 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Jamaica Training - Victorian State Football Centre, Melbourne, Australia - August 7, 2023 Jamaica's Solai Washington during training REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Spreading joy on and off the pitch at the Women’s World Cup, Jamaica and Colombia will battle for a quarter-final place on Tuesday after partying with each other at a Sydney nightclub.

The Caribbeans and South Americans have plenty in common, not least a love of music and dancing.

Both teams have impressed with their football on the way to the last 16, thrilling legions of festive supporters at their matches.

For Jamaica, a pay dispute with the national federation still simmers in the background but the “Reggae Girlz” have not let that get in the way of a good time in Australia.

“I was in Sydney, our first game … we went to a club that night. At the bottom was Colombia partying. And at the top, it was Jamaica,” said the Reggae Girlz’ coach Lorne Donaldson.

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“So we went down there, some Jamaicans trying to party with the Colombians and it was great.

“I think it makes it better that you have countries like this who enjoy life first.

“There are more important things in life than football.”

Jamaica have been the surprise package of the tournament, keeping clean sheets against France, Panama and Brazil to reach the knockout phase for the first time, in their second World Cup.

They will have their work cut out at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium defending against a Colombian attack boasting one of the game’s most exciting forwards in 18-year-old Linda Caicedo.

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In the leadup to the tournament, the Jamaicans complained of money troubles and launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover costs.

Four years after crashing out of the 2019 World Cup in France with three heavy defeats, they came to Australia with low expectations and declined to set any goals.

Donaldson said that had not changed and they were still only focused on the match ahead of them.

However, he has charged his team with scoring against Colombia, after they managed only one goal in the group phase, a header by captain Allyson Swaby from a set-piece against Panama.

“I don’t think it’s a major concern to us,” said Donaldson of the lack of goals.

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“I mean, we played some good teams, France and Brazil — two of the top teams in the world.

“To get through the group you have to do what you have to do.

“We have to try to score a goal to win this game because somebody will be knocked out.

“So we will put our best foot forward and hopefully, we can get something going on here with goals.”

-Reuters

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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

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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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Flamingos hammer hosts Liberia 4-1, put one leg in World Cup finals

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FIFA World Cup bronze medallists Nigeria routed Liberia 4-1 in a fast-paced FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying round, first leg encounter in Monrovia on Sunday.

The Flamingos got off to a pretty quick start at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex at the Paynesville, but the Liberian girls, who shocked Senegal on the away-goal rule to reach this final round, warded off the early threats.

Nigeria got the ball into the net after 14 minutes, but Chadian referee Lare Lamngar ruled it off. Not to be deterred or discouraged, the Flamingos poured forward once again, and in the 19th minute, Shakirat Moshood opened the scoring from a sweet solo run.

Peace Effiong, who got a brace in the 6-0 defeat of Burkina Faso at the MKO Abiola National Stadium last month, scored in the 29th minute to put a wedge of respect between the two teams.

Usual suspect Harmony Chidi, scorer of six of the 12 goals that sank the Central African Republic, and who equally netted four in the 7-1 dismissal of Burkina Faso in the last round, headed home her 11th goal of the qualifying series in the 36th minute to put daylight between both teams.

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On resumption, Nigeria continued to dominate, and substitute Blessing Ifitezue made it four with 16 minutes left.

Liberia scored a consolation goal with five minutes left, from the penalty spot, through Yassah Gwaikolo, after substitute Onyedikachi Ekezie was adjudged to have committed a foul in the area.

The Flamingos will return to Nigeria on Tuesday, and immediately commence preparations for the return leg encounter scheduled for Friday at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

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