Nigeria’s Under 20 Women’s football team, the Falconets have booked a place in the finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup scheduled to hold in Colombia, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22.
Falconets qualified for the World Cup after defeating their counterparts from Burundi by a lone goal in the second leg of their FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final qualifying round fixture.
The match which was played at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, saw Opeyemi Ajakaye scoring the only goal of the encounter in the 79th minute.
The goal handed Nigeria a 2-0 aggregate victory in the final round of the qualifying round, having won the first leg also by a lone goal in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Jan. 14.
The Nigerian girls created opportunity after opportunity but failed to convert them to make their vast superiority count.
As early as the second minute, Ajakaye, who was the top scorer for the FIFA Under 17 World Cup bronze-winning Flamingos in 2022, volleyed wide when it appeared easier to score.
Chiamaka Okwuchukwu swung the ball into the visitors’ box from the wing 13 minutes later, but the team’s leading scorer, Janet Akekoromowei, failed to convert the opportunity .
It was Okwuchukwu’s turn to miss in the 34th minute when she could not convert a pull-out by Ajakaye.
Eight minutes after the break, Ajakaye went on a solo run into the visitors’ eighteen-yard box, only to end up with a weak shot that was easily collected by goalkeeper Amissa Inarukundo.
The visitors defence was broken again in the 90th minute by Ajakaye, who made hay with an assist by Akekoromowei to net a second goal which did not stand.
The lone goal by Ajakaye ensured that Nigeria emerged as one of Africa’s four representatives at the tournament later this year.
Nigeria has always featured at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup since it was launched as an Under 19 tournament in Canada 22 years ago.
The Falconets finished as runners-up in 2010 and 2014, while reaching the semi-finals in Japan in 2012.