Abuja, Oct. 31, 2022. Some football enthusiasts have commended the Flamingos on their record-breaking feat at the just concluded Under-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Flamingos clinched bronze at the U-17 World Cup after beating Germany in the third-place playoff in India on Sunday following a 3-3 draw.
Despite allowing Germany to fight back from 3-0 down, Nigeria emerged winners after a 3-2 victory in another nerve-wracking penalty shootout.
A cross section of football enthusiasts who spoke to NAN on Monday said the Flamingos were indeed world breakers and have etched their names in the history of football in the country.
Mouktar Mohammed, Chairman of the FCT Football Association (FA), said the victory was a great one for the country and a thing of joy and pride for all Nigerians.
“It was a great result, we are all happy with the bronze medal. Big congratulations to the team, the technical crew and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
“Nigerian fans always expect results and when ever they get it they are elated. It excites the whole country when we do well and win laurels.
“Football is such a great unifier for the country and it projects a positive image of our country globally,” he said.
Adama Idris, a former Director of marketing and sponsorship at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), on his part attributed the team’s victory to the commitment of Aisha Folade, the Chairperson of the Nigerian Women Football League (NWFL),
“The victory of the Flamingos can never be taken away from the passion and commitment of Aisha Falode and the way and manner she installed the winning spirit in the girls.
“Not only the Flamingos, but the entire women football. I could also see the blend among members of the team including the technical crew. They were psychologically self motivated and technically fearless.
“With this victory, one can only hope that a special attention will be given to women football, in terms of funding for effective training, education and player motivation,” he said.
Godwin Bamigboye, the Interim National Coordinator of the Association of Football Administrators in Nigeria (AFAN), said the record-breaking feat by the Flamingos would continue to be a reference point for other teams in future.
“The Flamingos under the tutelage of Coach Bankole Olowookere are record breakers.
“Record breakers in the sense that they were the first in that category from Africa to reach the semifinals and narrowly missed playing in the final.
“To have won the bronze medal is another record; the first team in that category in Africa to achieve that feat at the World Cup finals.
“You can see that the girls have broken all sort of records which will indeed continue to be a reference point for others in the future.
“To only record left to be broken now is for the girls to get to the final and win a silver or gold medal,” he said.
Bamigboye stressed that what the girls had achieved deserved commendation, adding that the third place match was a difficult game, especially after being pegged back having been up by as much as three goals.
He praised the technical crew for a job well done and urged them to ensure that the girls were well nurtured and groomed to progress seamlessly to the the Under-20 team.
“We thought it was the end, but the Germans pulled a stunning comeback late in the second half to create tension in the camp of the Flamingos.
“We all feared the worse and hoped it wasn’t going to be another penalty shootout disappointment for Nigeria.
“But the girls were so lucky and at the end of the day emerged victorious.
“Kudos to the technical crew and the entire team. It is a commendable effort and they must keep it up.
“The team should progress to the Under-20 level to play for the Falconets and I believe if they stay together with that understanding, they will go places and get that result we so desire,” he said.
He also commended the new NFF Board led by Ibrahim Gusau for the victory, and charged them to begin preparation for the next world cup immediately, so as to avoid a fire brigade approach and achieve more success in future outings.
“I also want to congratulate the NFF President, Gusau for this wonderful achievement, coming just one month in office.
“So, what he needs to do now is to keep our teams together, longer than they need to be because what is left in our national teams now, especially the female national team is team spirit.
“They need to stay much longer together and get used to themselves so that when they get to the world cup, they would have perfected both the technical and tactical aspect of the game.
“This is the antidote to poor performance and what they need to defeat other countries in the continent and at the world stage.
“So, let them stay and train hard together and as a matter of fact, the preparation for the next world cup must start immediately.
“We must not wait until it is just a few months away to the qualifiers, then we will start the normal fire brigade approach.
“Nigeria is still the biggest and best when it comes to women football in Africa.
“Yes, we recently lost our title to South Africa, but I believe if the women team prepare adequately, there is no team in Africa that can beat us,” he said.
Bamigboye, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association in the Federal Capital Territory, noted that the Senior National team also had the capacity to achieve great things at the world stage.
“For the Super Falcons, we are waiting for them and I don’t know what coach Randy Waldrum is going to offer, but right from the onset, I was opposed to getting a foreign coach for the team.
“I think we have the technical capacity to manage our women team. They have performed wonderfully well and I expect that having dominated football in Africa, other African countries will be hiring our coaches to train their women national team.
“But it is unfortunate that this is not the case. I think it was only during the time of Dilichukwu Onyedinma that one African country wanted the services of our coaches to help improve their football.
“Unfortunately she had a brief stint on the board of the NFF, but I think if she was there for a longer period, she would have made more progress in this regard.
“Having said that, I want to commend the person who is there now, Aisha Falode who has managed the women league in Nigeria so wonderfully well.
“We have seen some efforts here and there and urge her to continue to do her best to improve the league because when it improves, football generally improves in the country and when we get to both the continental and world stage the improvement will show,” he said.
Mansur Abdullahi, a former assistant coach of the Under-17, Under-20 and Women Senior National teams said the victory was a great one.
He noted that the feat was the first-of-its-kind in the history of Nigerian Football since the inception of the Under-17 Women World Cup in 2008.
“This is the first time we’ve achieved this feat and first time to beat a highly ranked team like U.S. and Germany at the World Cup.
“However, it was quite sad again that we gave up our three goal lead late in the match. It wasn’t a good one.
“But congrats to coach Olowookere and his crew Adanna Nwaneri and Queendoleen Akpan for winning the bronze medal. It shows they have great qualities.
“Olowookere is indeed a grassroot coach and it is interesting to note that 80 percent of the girls are from the Women Academy Football League in Lagos.
“This is a great achievement for Nigeria and I pray we sustain the tempo so that the next Under-20 girls will be great bunch of talent.
“Looking at their progression and barring any injury incident, I strongly believe that these girls will all graduate to play for the Falconets come 2024,” he said.
Abdullahi also congratulated the new NFF Board for the victory and urged them to sustain the tempo.
He however appealed to the NFF to ensure that grassroot development of women football was taken seriously so as to aid in the discovery of more record-breakers like the Flamingos.
“Kudos to the new NFF Board on winning their first trophy. It is a good one and I urge them to sustain the tempo for better outings ahead.
“I also appeal to the NFF to look into the very important idea of having the ‘Future Falcons’ team, that is the Under-15 girls just like we have the ‘Future Eagles’, the Under-15 boys.
“This will go a long way in terms of grassroot development as well as the nurturing and discovery of more budding talents in the country,” he said.