Head Coach Bankole Olowookere has said that his Nigeria Under-17 girls, Flamingos are inspired by the desire to make Nigerians happy by earning a ticket to the FIFA World Cup finals, as they confront Ethiopia U17 girls in a final round, final leg match at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday.
“Our main objective is to do Nigeria proud, make Nigerians happy with the World Cup ticket. We will not under-rate the Ethiopians because they are a good team who also qualified to this stage. We defeated them 1-0 in their country but that does not mean we should assume the ticket is won. We must work hard and keep our heads until the referee’s final whistle. No match ends until it is called to an end by the referee.
“We are focused on the task at hand. The Ethiopians have shown a flair for playing better on away ground and that is one thing we have taken on board. The best approach will be to keep the ball away from them while we do the playing. We have been working on that since we returned from Addis Ababa and I believe we have the energy and the stamina for that approach.”
The Flamingos have scored a total of 15 goals in this qualifying campaign, conceeding none. They scored a total of eight goals in a two-leg blizzard against the Democratic Republic of Congo, and then shot six past Egypt in Abuja and Cairo. The rearguard and goalkeeper Faith Omilana have stolidly maintained a pristine record.
Aggregate victory over the Ethiopians, who turned back Uganda and South Africa in earlier rounds, would mean a direct flight to India for this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals – the seventh edition since the competition was launched in New Zealand in 2008. The finals in India will hold 11th – 30th October.
Olowookere will bank principally on the twin-attack force of Opeyemi Ajakaiye and Aminat Omowunmi Bello – who between them have scored nine of the team’s goals in their five matches so far. Ajakaiye is ahead with six goals while Bello has three.
The match kicks off at 4pm.