The City of Goa, India will come alive on Wednesday (today) as Nigeria’s U-17 women’s team, the Flamingos, tackle Colombia at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in a potentially explosive battle for a spot in the final of the 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup.
On the way to the semi-finals, the Flamingos lost 2-1 to Germany in their first match but returned to winning ways after beating New Zealand and Chile 4-0 and 2-1 respectively in Group B to finish second behind the Germans. They then conquered tournament favourites USA 4-3 on penalties after full-time ended 1-1 in the quarter-finals to reach the semis.
Just like the Flamingos, Colombia made it to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time, following four successive group stage exits.
In 2012 at the tournament in Azerbaijan, Nigeria beat Colombia 3-0 in a Group A match played in Baku.
Halimatu Ayinde scored in the 32nd and 75th minutes while an 80th-minute Diana Duarte own-goal completed the Nigerian victory.
They met again in Costa Rica in 2014 in Group D. In the match played at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto in Alajuela, Nigeria came from behind to win 2-1.
Angie Rodriguez shot Colombia ahead in the third minute before Joy Bokiri levelled up for Nigeria in the 26th minute and Uchenna Kanu scored the winner in the 59th minute.
“We can do more and that is how I tell my girls, we have done well reaching this stage, but we can do better,” Olowookere said.
“We are in the semi-finals and who says we can’t get to the final? We are putting our strategy together and with the help of God we will play in the final, and that is the expectation of millions of Nigerians.”
Flamingos defender Miracle Usani said the Flamingos were not scared of any team, after eliminating the USA in the quarter-finals.
“I believe we can get to the final,” she said. “If we can beat the USA, I don’t see any obstacle standing in our way.”
Flamingos captain Alvine Dah-Zossu and Omamuso Edafe are also optimistic the Flamingos will progress to a historic first final appearance ever.