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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Only three Super Falcons players available for team’s hosting by Nigeria’s first lady

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The First Lady, Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (third from right); Wife of the Vice President, Hajia Nana Shettima (third from left); Wife of the Senate President, Mrs Ekaette Akpabio (second from right), as well as NFF President Ibrahim Musa Gusau, 1st Vice President Felix Anyansi-Agwu and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi with Super Falcons’ players Onome Ebi, Tochukwu Oluehi and Christy Ucheibe at the reception for the Super Falcons at State House, Abuja on Monday.

Just three of the 23 players of the Super Falcons were available when the squad was hosted by Nigeria’s first lady, Oluremi Tinubu.

The three players were the captain, Onome Ebi, midfielder Christy Ucheibe and reserve goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi.

In spite of the low attendance, President of Nigeria Football Federation,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau commended the Wife of the President for hosting players and officials of the Super Falcons following the team’s historic performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.

The First Lady treated the three available players of the Super Falcons and their officials to a state reception at the State House, Abuja on Monday morning. Joining the three players were a number of technical and administrative officials, the NFF President, NFF 1st Vice President Felix Anyansi-Agwu and the General Secretary Dr Mohammed Sanusi.

At the occasion, the First Lady hailed the Super Falcons for their outing at the biggest stage possible, saying their hard work, focus and determination were seen and appreciated by Nigerians at home and in the diaspora. She minced no words in saying they made Nigerians proud with their scintillating football and deserve to be honoured.

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She also prayed for quick recovery for the mother of goalkeeper and on-field captain Chiamaka Nnadozie, who underwent medical operation last week. The first-choice goalkeeper was therefore unable to attend the occasion as scheduled.

Gusau said the First Lady’s gesture was very encouraging and would certainly spur other National Teams, indeed other sports teams, to give their all when representing Nigeria at international level.

“This kind gesture by the First Lady is heartwarming, and I must say that it is a super-incentive that will stimulate our National Teams to give their very best whenever they’re contesting major matches and championships going forward.

“The First Lady said very nice words to the players and they were quite happy. We thank her for the very kind gesture.”

Also in attendance were the wife of the Vice President, Hajia Nana Shettima and the wife of the Senate President, Mrs Ekaette Akpabio.

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Unbeaten in regulation time in all four matches they played at the World Cup, the Super Falcons exited the tournament after a penalty shootout defeat to England in the Round of 16 on Monday last week.

 

 

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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