The FIFA U-17 Women World Cup kicked off on Saturday with Africa being represented by The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria. None of these African nations nurtured a win on match day 1: Nigeria came from behind to draw 1-1 with Canada; Ghana lost 2-1 to Germany; while The Gambia lost woefully to Korea DPR 11-0.
Match day 2 kicked off on Tuesday with Nigeria taking on host Azerbaijan while the United States of America faced The Gambia. The Gambia lost 6-0 to USA after a spirited first half that ended 1-0 in favour of the Obama babes. The American went haywire in the second half to round up the match. The Gambia is officially out of the tournament but will try to restore their nations pride by either getting a goal or at least a point in their final group game against France.
The toast of the match day 2 was that between Nigeria and host Azerbaijan. The flamingoes, as the Nigerian U-17 women are called, wasted no time in showing their intent with Ihezuo scoring the first of her 5 goals in the 5th minute of the game. The first half ended 7-0 in favour of the West Africans with goals from Ihezuo (5th, 32nd, 37th), Ayinde (8th, 24th), Yakubu 22nd and Biahwo 20th. The second half produced 4 more goals with Chiwendu Ihezuo scoring again in the 56th and 70th minutes; Bokiri scored in the 68th minute while Biahwo rounded up the rout in the 74th minute.
The game would have recorded much more goals if not for the woodwork and some saves from the Azerbaijani keeper. Chiwendu Ihezuo was definitely the lady of the match scoring 5 and assisting 3. The girls practically spelled AZERBAIJANI, sending them packing out of the tourney. With a67% possession, the flamingoes outplayed the host, firing 26 shots on target out of 38. Nigeria tops the group, thanks to a higher goal difference because Canada won 2-1 over Colombia. Nigeria will need just a draw to proceed to the next stage.
The flamingoes gave Africans a reason to smile, a game to cover-up for Gambia’s opening day 11-0 lost. Ghana followed suit, thrashing Uruguay 5-0.
Nigerians back home would expect the goals to continue to flow till the flamingoes grab the trophy. The real test will come when they take on the Asian teams. Fly Flamingoes, Fly.