By Albert Akota
The coach of the Flamingos Bala Nikyu has assured Nigeriawill be at their best to cage the Cameroon U17 girls when both teams clash in Benin City on Saturday in the first leg, final round of the African qualifiers for this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals.
The Flamingos reached the final round of the African series by overcoming Ethiopia’s U17 girls on the away goal rule, both teams battling to a scoreless draw in Benin City after a 1-1 draw in Addis Ababa.
On Saturday, Nikyu and Flamingos must surpass their level best against a team that caned their Algerian counterparts 4-0 away in the earlier round of the series. But the experienced tactician assured that his team is fully prepared.
“We know for certain that it will be dangerous to take matters lightly with the Cameroonians. Apart from the rivalry between Nigeria and Cameroon on the football field, the Cameroonian girls sent strong signals with their performance against the Algerians.
“However, we have prepared very well for them and victory is what we will go all out for on Saturday.”
The Baby Lionesses arrived in Lagos on Wednesday, and were flown to Benin City on Thursday evening aboard an Air Peace flight. They are staying at the Best Western Hotel in the Edo State capital.
The match officials from Benin Republic are also settled in Benin City. Christelle Ligan Aurore is the centre referee, with compatriots Nafissatou Yekini Shitou (Assistant Referee 1), Sonia Louis (Assistant Referee 2) and Beatrice Goughoedou Zongbossi (Fourth Official) also involved. Aisha Nalule from Uganda is the match commissioner.
The return leg will take place in Yaounde in a fortnight, with the winner on aggregate to pick one of Africa’s tickets to the 6th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup taking place in Uruguay later this year.
Nigeria has participated in every edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup since it was launched in New Zealand in 2008, reaching the quarter –finals in Trinidad and Tobago (2010), Azerbaijan (2012) and Costa Rica (2014).