Barely two weeks to the kick-off of the 5th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals in Jordan, Coach Bala Nikyu has again assured that the Nigeria U17 girls, known as Flamingoes, will be ready for the challenge on the biggest stage.
The Kaduna State –born tactician who took charge of the team at the 2014 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, where the Nigerian girls reached the quarter finals, said there has been remarkable improvement in the squad that he led through four wins out of four matches in the African qualifying series and which had been in camp in Abuja since the end of July 2016.
“There has been remarkable improvement in my players since they resumed camp in July and now. I am happy to say they have been adhering to instructions during training sessions; they are much fitter now and are playing more cohesively. The mistakes that we noted when we started the camp have been largely corrected.” He said in a statement from the NFF.
Nikyu also said that the series of friendly games played so far have helped him in assessing his team. The Flamingoes have played six test games since resuming camp, winning five and drawing one. Their last game was against Yaba Stars F.C of Abuja on Sunday, 11th September. In that game, the Flamingoes came from 2-1 down to defeat the boys’ team 3-2 at the FIFA Goal Project Pitch, Abuja.
Apart from the training sessions and friendly games, the team has also benefitted from classroom lectures by FIFA Referees Instructor, Sunday Okayi (of the NFF Competitions Department), on the latest FIFA Rules and Regulations, the laws of the game involving referees and players and also players’ conduct while on the field of play. There have also been psychology classes by Robinson Okosun, Head of NFF Psychology Unit.
The Flamingoes have participated in every edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup since its inception in 2008.
They will tackle the U17 women’s team of Brazil on Nigeria’s Independence Day (1st October) in their first match of Jordan 2016, before playing England and Korea Democratic Republic.
A total of 32 matches will be contested between 16 countries at Jordan 2016 from 30th September – 21st October.