Flamingos 90 minutes away from India as Nigeria beat Ethiopia 1-0 in Addis Ababa

By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’sNo.1 Women’s Football Journalist

Celebration Time. ..Flamingos players celebrating Opeyemi Ajakaiye’s winning goal against Ethiopia ‘Lucy’ in Addis Ababa on Friday

Nigeria’s junior women’s football team, Flamingos are just 90 minutes away from booking the ticket to represent Africa in the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022, as they defeated their Ethiopian counterparts 1-0 in the first leg of the final round match played on Friday at the Abebe Bekila Stadium, Addis Ababa.

The new kid on the block, Opeyemi Ajajkaiye scored the all important away goal in the 35th minutes of the tight encounter as the Nigerians found it difficult to breakdown the hosts.
Ajajkaiye who is fast developing as Nigeria’s new prolific goalscorer at the junior level has scored four goals for Nigeria in her last three matches against Egypt and Ethiopia, and six overall, including a brace against the Democratic Republic of Congo in a 5-0 spanking in Benin City, Edo state earlier in the qualifiers.
The fleet-footed player had also scored a brace against Egypt U-17 girls in Abuja last month and struck the first goal in the return leg tie in Cairo while she again got Nigeria’s only goal against Ethiopia on Friday in Addis Ababa.
Head Coach, Oloowokere Bankole had set up his team the same way he did last time out  in Cairo against Egypt with a 4-4-2 formation which unleashed Ajakaiye and her strike partner Amina Bello to pressure their opponents early.
However, a well organised Ethiopians who eliminated the highly fancied South Africa in the third round stage were able to contain the Flamingos for the better part of the match until Ajakaiye broke the deadlock in the 36th minute of the match.

All Smiles. ..Proud Coach Bankole Oloowokere feeling taller than his normal height after leading the Flamingos to away victory in Ethiopia on Friday

The goal forced the  Ethiopians to come out in search of the equalizer with Kumneger Kebede, Emush Daniel and Bethelem Germa having  chances to put the  for the home team level in the second period but met a strong Nigeria backline marshalled by Comfort Folorunsho, Blessing Sunday, Tumininu Adeshina and Miracle Usan

Bankole deployed a midfield comprising petite Taiwo Afolabi who supplied Ajakaiye the ball to score, Blessing Emmanuel, Joy Igbokwe and Chidera Okenwa who frequently joined the attack and also fell back to defend whenever Nigeria’s defence was under pressure.
However, the hosts gave as much as they received in the game and could still try to overturn the lone advantage of Nigeria if they are not taken seriously in two weeks time in Abuja.
Although it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than Ethiopia to beating Nigeria by two goals at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja in the second leg tie as no Nigerian junior women’s football team has lost a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier ticket at home.
The last time Flamingos have failed to qualify was in 2018 edition  held in Uruguay when Cameroon junior Lionesses edged Flamingos out in the return leg tie in Cameroon after a slim victory in Benin City Edo state under Coach Bala Nkiyu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *