The head coach of the Nigeria U-17 female side, Bankole Olowookere has acknowledged that for his side to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Flamingos must beat the best team.
He further assured that his side are up to the task as the seventh edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals kicks off on Tuesday in India.
The Flamingos begin their campaign against Germany in the second Group B match and it will be played at the Pandit Jawaharlal Stadium in Goa at 8 p.m. India time (4 p.m. Nigeria time)
The competition’s official opening match will be played between hosts India and the United States at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Prior to that, at 12.30 p.m. Nigerian time, group B rivals Chile and New Zealand will square off in Goa, and group A rivals Morocco and Brazil will do battle in Bhubaneswar.
“We are excited to be starting the tournament by playing against one of the strongest women teams in the universe. It is a good challenge because if you’re going to win trophies, you must beat the best teams.
“Our focus is on getting the three points at stake, which will boost our confidence for the remaining games of the group phase and going forward in the competition.”
“Playing a strong team at the beginning should not present any apprehension. It is an opportunity to start with your best team and best tactics, and be vigilant to utilize the opportunities and possibilities that present themselves within the 90 minutes,” Olowookere added.
After a 10-day training camp in the Turkish city of Kocaeli, and a barnstorming African qualifying campaign that saw them winning five of six matches against Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Ethiopia, Olowokeere believes his Flamingos are ready for the big duels.
The DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai is the other venue that will host matches during the competition.
After their first match of the campaign against Germany in Goa on Tuesday, Nigeria will take on 2018 World Cup bronze medallists New Zealand on Friday, 14th October also in Goa (as from 12.30pm), before flying to Bhubaneswar to take on Chile on Monday, 17th October (also as from 12.30pm).
Africa’s other representatives – Morocco and Tanzania – also have their work cut out, with Morocco playing hosts India, USA and Brazil in group A while Tanzania are up against Japan, Canada and France in group D.
Cup holders Spain head group C that also includes defending vice-champions Mexico, Colombia and China.
21 FLAMINGOS TO FLY NIGERIA’S FLAG IN INDIA:
Goalkeepers: Faith Omilana; Linda Jiwuaku; Jessica Inyiama
Defenders: Olamide Oyinlola; Josephine Edafe; Comfort Folorunsho; Miracle Usani; Tumininu Adeshina; Blessing Sunday; Alase Attervall; Immaculata Offiong
Midfield: Chidera Okenwa; Blessing Emmanuel; Mary Aderemi; Bisola Mosaku; Taiwo Afolabi
Forward: Omowunmi Bello; Opeyemi Ajakaye; Edidiong Etim; Alvine Dah-Zossu; Yetunde Ayantosho
GROUP A: India, USA, Morocco, Brazil
GROUP B: Germany, Nigeria, Chile, New Zealand
GROUP C: Spain, Colombia, Mexico, China
GROUP D: Japan, Tanzania, Canada, France