The Nigerian Falconets kick off their first match in the ongoing FIFA Women World Cup against the French ladies on Friday, August 12 at 12am at the Le Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San José.
The Nigerian women’s national U-20 football team are seeded in Group C alongside France, the Korea Republic, and Canada. The Danjuma Chris-led team hope to fly over France before taking on the Korea Republic on Sunday, August 14, and then wrap up the group stage in an encounter with the ladies from Canada on Wednesday, August 17.
Nigeria secured the ticket to represent Africa in the 10th edition of the FIFA biennial event at the expense of the Central Africa Republic, Congo, Cameroon, and Senegal.
The Nigerian U-20 ladies will be aspiring to kick start their title quest on a winning note when they face the French ladies in the early hours of Friday morning in Costa Rica.
The Falconets will be relying on the goal-scoring prowess of Flourish Sebastine and Mercy Idoko to secure the needed three points. Both strikers played crucial roles for the reigning African champions, contributing 12 goals en route Costa Rica.
Chris Danjuma, the chief coach of the Falconets has expressed confidence that his girls have the strength, the savvy, and the right spirit to cause a stir at the ongoing U-20 Women’s World Cup.
“We are finally here, and we are happy to be here at the FIFA World Cup. The World Cup is always an interesting experience for the coaches and the players, and I am sure it is the same for other professionals who get to be involved.
“I can tell you that we are prepared to do Nigeria and Africa proud. It is not about being here to make up the number; it is about being here to make an impact,” he said.
However, football fans are afraid that the lack of enough friendlies will be the worst undoing of the team.
Ndidi Iwuala, a football enthusiast decried inadequate preparation as a significant factor that might affect the team in Costa Rica.
“The team has not played a quality friendly match on their way to the tournament. FIFA Women World Cup at any level is serious that requires adequate preparation and haphazard approach like we have now,” he noted.
For Onyebuchi Abia, a veteran sports analyst, the Falconets have what it takes to excel at the tournament.
“The Falconets have been doing well in past tournaments both in Africa and outside the continent. I see them beating the French ladies because their style of play soothes the Nigerian team that plays a robust kind of football,” he said.
When asked about the lacklustre preparation of the Falconets, Abia said the lack of quality friendlies might not necessarily be a problem for the team.
“Not playing quality friendlies may not be a problem. I see the successes of other Nigerian athletes in the Commonwealth Games and other recent competitions as a motivation for the girls. They are going to do well. They edge out France at the of the 90minutes,” he stated.