Head Coach Bala Nikyu says his Nigeria U17 girls, Flamingoes are prepared to take the match to their Ethiopian opponents and guarantee a place in the final round of African qualifiers for next year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
“We are much prepared even than we were for the first leg in Addis Ababa. Collectively, we have worked on the noted areas of weaknesses and we are good to go for Saturday in Benin,” Nikyu said.
The Flamingoes, who have participated in every edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup since the competition was launched in New Zealand nine years ago, are the bookmakers’ favourites to sail into the final round of the series and earn a berth in the sixth edition in South America.
All is set for the return leg encounter at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City as from 4pm on Saturday, after the Ethiopian delegation arrived in Abuja on Thursday and was immediately flown to the Edo State capital.
Both teams finished the first leg 1-1 at the Addis Ababa Stadium, with Joy Jerry putting the Nigerian girls in front after 20 minutes as they struggled to cope with the biting weather, and although the hosts created a number of chances, the scoreline stayed that way until the end of the first half. Ethiopia equalized in the second half with a free –kick from 35 metres that stunned goalkeeper Christian Obia.
In the first leg, Coach Nikyu started with Christiana Obia, Omowunmi Oshobukola, Onyinyechi Christopher, Favour Emmanuel, Esther Momoh, Fehintola Mabokanje, Yetunde Fajobi, Grace Aondoseer, Martha Vincent, Esther Onyenezide and Joy Jerry. On the substitutes’ bench were goalkeeper Omini Oyono, Mercy Idoko, Oluchi Nnadi, Patricia Innocent, Tarnum Dooshima, Abibat Abdulgodir and Victoria Bassey.
The winner on aggregate will take on the winner of the Cameroon/Algeria fixture in the second and final round of the series. Cameroon defeated Algeria 4-0 away in Algiers a forthnight ago.
The 6th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will hold in Uruguay 20th November – 13th December 2018.