The weather did not help matters; even we adults were uncomfortable. You can imagine what the young ladies were going through on the pitch.
The Nigeria’s U-17 female football team, the Flamingos, played draw with Ethiopian team in Addis Ababa on Sunday afternoon in a World Cup qualifier match.
The Flamingos maintained a position of 1-1 draw in the second round, first game of a 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifying match
The Nigerian team had to battle seriously with an unfriendly weather in Addis Ababa during the match; nevertheless, Joy Jerry was obviously outstanding in her push to bring the Nigerian ladies to a successful end of the first half.
According to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) the cold weather affected the Nigeria’s team so much in the second half that the Ethiopian squad took advantage of it to equalize with a free-kick. The free kick that brought the shocking parity was shot from 35 meters to the goal post and it went right in the net.
“The weather did not help matters; even we adults were uncomfortable. You can imagine what the young ladies were going through on the pitch.
“Most of them had never gone beyond the shores of Nigeria or experienced this kind of climate before,” Abdulrafiu Yusuf, former Nigerian international and NFF’s Assistant Director (Technical), explained at the end of the encounter.
The Coach of the Nigerian team Bala Nikyu started the game with Christiana Obia, Omowunmi Oshobukola, , Favour Emmanuel, Joy Jerry, Esther Momoh, Fehintola Mabokanje, Grace Aondoseer, Onyinyechi Christopher, Martha Vincent, Esther Onyenezide and Yetunde Fajobi.
While goalkeeper Omini Oyono, Abibat Abdulgodir, Mercy Idoko, Oluchi Nnadi, Tarnum Dooshima, Victoria Bassey and Patricia Innocent, were on bench.
Coach Bala Nikyu further spoke of the effect of the match and what to do next to beat the Ethiopians: “The weather did not help but I don’t like to give excuses for my team’s performance.
“We have to work very hard when we return to Nigeria ahead of the return leg. We must be more potent in attack and find a way to curtail the Ethiopians.”
We are expecting the Nigerian’s U-17 female squad back to Nigeria on Monday
The Flamingos will be meeting the Ethiopians in a return leg at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, on Saturday, December 16. The winner on aggregate will play with the winner of the Cameroon–Algeria game in the second and final round of the series after Cameroon defeated Algeria 4-0 in Algiers on Friday.