Coach of the Flamingoes of Nigeria, Bala Nikyu, is optimistic of his team’s chances of qualifying for the last four of the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
The Nigerian girls face Spain in the quarter-finals, after impressive displays which saw them advance from the group stage with a 100% record.
Nikyu expects a tough game against the Spaniards, who beat Paraguay 7-1 in their last game, but remained confident that his girls have what it takes to progress.
“We would ensure that we win this game within the allotted time and we are looking at the possibility of not allowing the game to be dragged into a penalty shootout,” he said.
“I agree that Spain has been making progress since they started but they won’t progress (beyond the quarterfinal) at the expense of Nigeria on Friday.”
Spain coach Jorge Vilda, is banking on his side’s impressive attacking line-up to trouble Nigeria, but admitted that they still need to work on their finishing.
“This team goes from strength to strength. It’s always the same for us at major tournaments; as the games go by, the team gets better and better. Our last two results have shown our attacking potential,” Vilda said.
“But there are still aspects of our play that we need to improve, such as nervous starts and little uncharacteristic lapses. We still have work to do.”
Nigeria is seeking its first ever semi-final appearance, while Spain will be hoping to surpass their third-place finish at Trinidad and Tobago in 2010. The game takes place at the Estadio Edgardo Baltodano on Friday (3am Nigerian time).
Ghana and Nigeria are keeping Africa’s hopes alive at U17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica after the other representative of the continent, Zambia were knocked out in the group stage.
The two teams are through to the quarterfinals of the competition and they both face stiff European competition.
Ghana had been impressive until their last match were they fizzled to a desperate 10-man Canada, falling 2-1 after they had pummeled everyone in their group including the much-fancied Germans.
The Black Maidens now face the Italians in Match 26 in San Jose on Thursday and the Ghanaians will have to find their speed again of they have any hopes of beating the pacy Italians.
The Nigerians, on the other hand picked the right time to find their form, putting out Colombia and China, the Nigerians were on fire against the solid, co-Group D favourites Mexico.
They are yet to be beaten, and after dismantling the team from North America 3-0 are set to face Spain in Match 28 ironically in the city with another West African connotation – called Liberia.
Nigeria are just as fast as Ghana but are also slick up the middle and in the air, where Kanu has been deadly with her headers and is living up to her famous namesake Nwankwo Kanu.
Both teams certainly have the potential to progress to an all-African semifinal on the 31 March.
Ghana and Nigerian are set to advance into the second stage of the ongoing 2014 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation Aminu Maigari has attributed the impressive performance of the Flamingoes of Nigeria at the FIFA under 17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica to the preparations the team had prior to the tournament.
The Flamingoes were camped in Faro,Portugal before they departed for the North American continent for the World Cup.
Nigeria in their first game at the tournament stunned powerhouses,China winning 2-1 to get their first win in the competition and last night equally beat Colombia by the same margin to qualify for the quarter-finals of the tournament.
”We’ve given them very befitting friendly international which i believe they did very well, they played boys and girls in Faro Portugal so it’s as good as given them all sort of required friendly matches,” Maigari told a Nigeria based radio station.
He further added that they will get better as they progress in the tournament:”I believe they will keep improving, if you go by their status they are just young and fresh players and for them to play at the world cup, i believe they will keep improving” he added.
Nigeria and Mexico have both qualified for the last eight but would face each other in the last group game,to ascertain who will top the group.
After their impressive start in the group stage of the FIFA U-17, Ghana coach Evans Adotey has stated that his team has now turned its focus to Germany.
A win in the next game will grant Ghana, who beat Korea DPR 2-0 in the first match, passage to the next round in Costa Rica but the fixture on Tuesday represents a major task for the Black Maidens.
The Germans showed their worth after rallying back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Canada. But Adotey does foresee the game defining who qualifies from Group B.
“Not really,” Adotey said. “Except a win on Tuesday against Germany to ensure that I have qualified because I need only three points to qualify to the next stage.”
At the last World Cup, both teams met in the group stage which the Germans won but in the match for third place, Ghana triumphed to win bronze.
Adotey says it’s a changed side from the one the Black Maidens faced in Azerbaijan two years ago.
“Looking at Germany as compared to the previous edition, this time I saw an all-round new team. Looking at how they played [2-2 draw with Canada], they were down 2-0 but came all the way after 60 minutes to end the game 2-2.”
Though a new side, the striking fightback exhibited by the Germans on Saturday has given the Ghana coach an insight about his next opponents.
“This is an indication that we have to be careful. I am preparing to make sure that Ghana go around Germany.
“I am not worried but it’s good for a coach to always get ready or stand on his or her feet. My first game plan is to keep a clean sheet. If I don’t score, they don’t score.
“Coming all the way to redeem the two goals conceded in the first half, I would take a look at them. I would not rush into goal scoring. My objective is to win this particular game,” the Black Maidens coach said.
Ghana got off their U-17 World Cup campaign off to a winning start as the Black Maidens defeated Korea DPR 2-0 in the Group B opener on Saturday in Costa Rica.
A Jane Ayieyam first half goal and a second after the break by Sandra Owusu-Ansah sealed victory in Liberia as Augustine Adotey’s side jump to the summit of the four-team table.
It was a perfect start for Adotey, whose team return to action on Tuesday against Germany at the Estadio Edgardo Baltodano Stadium.
Ghana, bronze medalist at the last competition started off strongly against the 2012 runners-up but could not find the net as their best effort in the early minutes was a cross by Lily Niber-Lawrence that flew across the face of goal with no one to tap in.
The Koreans also stringed a couple of passes and showed Ghana how dangerous they could be on the ball.
However, Ayieyam put Ghana in front when she she controlled a ball in the box and slipped it under the diving arms of Korea’s goalkeeper Kim Myong Sun in the 17th minute.
Korea caused Ghana some problems when Berlinda Anane cleared off the line with Azume Adams beaten. Ghana held onto their slim lead to end the half 1-nil up.
Both sides returned from the break and it was the Koreans who pushed for the equaliser.
But eight minutes into the restart, Ghana doubled their lead when Owusu-Ansah took advantage of a defender ‘s indecision to round the goalkeeper and plant the ball into the empty goal.
The Ghana bench made two changes, bringing on Princella Adubea and Vinoria Kuzagbe for Owusu-Ansah and Laadi Issaka.
Two-nil up and the Black Maidens kept it tight though Korea still threatened as they missed two glaring chances that could have changed the game.
South Africa has already won the right to host the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup, the first time a major women’s world championship will be hosted on the African continent, and are now interested in hosting the senior event as well.
Despite interest from other countries such as Japan, SAFA boss Danny Jordaan insists the country’s track record as hosts of major events would stand its bid in good stead.
Dutch coach Vera Pauw has been recently appointed to take charge of the South Africa’s female national team, Bayana Bayana, and has been tasked to qualify the side to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Africa has three slots for the World Cup and this will be decided at the African Women Championship scheduled for Namibia in October.
And Danny Jordaan believes Coach Pauw, who will be their first female trainer, will be up to the task of qualifying South Africa to the World Cup.
“We decided we wanted first a women coach for each of our women’s teams, then we wanted one of the best coaches and we when couldn’t find that internally we had to go outside and look. Pauw comes with top credentials,” Jordaan said.
“Her mandate will be to take us to the World Cup next year. Her contract will be for as long as she is successful.”
Pauw was not at Thursday’s announcement in Johannesburg but in a recorded video message she said: “We will aim high and look to make huge strides.”
She will arrive later this month and takes charge of her first match on 26 March against Namibia in a friendly.
Africa’s representatives’ Group fixtures:
GROUP A: COSTA RICA, VENEZUELA, ITALY, ZAMBIA
15th March – Italy vs Zambia
18th March – Venezuela vs Zambia
22nd March – Zambia vs Costa Rica
GROUP B: GHANA, KOREA DPR, GERMANY, CANADA
15th March – Ghana vs Korea DPR
18th March – Ghana vs Germany
22nd March – Canada vs Ghana
GROUP D: MEXICO, COLUMBIA, CHINA, NIGERIA
16th March – China vs Nigeria
19th March – Columbia vs Nigeria
23rd March – Nigeria vs Mexico
14/2/2014 Algeria 2-0 Morocco
14/2/2014 Zambia 2-1 Tanzania
14/2/2014 Botswana 0-1 Zimbabwe
15/2/2014 Cote d’Ivoire 4-0 Mali
16/2/2014 Burkina Faso vs Ghana
16/2/2014 Egypt vs Tunisia
16/2/2014 Rwanda vs Kenya
*Guinea Bissau vs Senegal
Nigeria vs Sierra Leone*
Ethiopia vs South Sudan*
*Mozambique vs Comoros