Eminent world citizens, including the President of Nigeria Football Federation and 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, and ranking Member of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, Hon. Ayo Omidiran, will cheer Nigeria’s U20 girls, Falconets against their German counterparts in Saint Malo on Monday.
The occasion is the opening match of Group D of the 9th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals, which began on Sunday and holds in France’s Brittany region. In Sunday’s opening encounter, Mexico edged Brazil 3-2 in an interesting affair in Dinan/Léhon.
Pinnick, who at the weekend received a letter of congratulations from FIFA President Gianni Infantino on his nomination as 1st Vice President of CAF, flew into Paris on Sunday from the United Kingdom before making his way to Saint Malo.
Respected lawmaker Omidiran, an illustrious financier and ardent supporter of women’s football for several decades now, is a Member of the House of Reps’ Committee on Sports and Youth Development and Chairman of the NFF Women’s Football Committee.
The NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, is expected in Saint Malo on Monday, as the Nigerian girls get set to soar in a championship in which they have finished as runners-up on two occasions.
It is just as well that their first match of this year’s tournament is against perennial foes Germany, who edged the Falconets in the final matches of the 2010 and 2014 championships.
“It is a good thing we are meeting Germany in our first match. If you want to be a champion, you have to overcome strong forces on the way. We are starting the tournament knowing that there is no easy route to the top, and that we have to give our best in every minute of the competition,” Head Coach Chris Danjuma told thenff.com.
The Falconets delegation landed in France on Thursday, and trained on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the team attended a FIFA Ethics Workshop. Their official training session for Monday’s clash with the Germans will hold at the Stade de Marville on Sunday afternoon.
Effervescent forward Gift Monday must play carefully in order to avoid a yellow card that could knock her out of Thursday’s clash with Haiti, having been cautioned in the Nigeria team’s final qualifying match against South Africa in Benin City early in the year.
However, the Falconets are loaded to the hilt with proven performers. Captain Oluwakemi Famuditi and Glory Ogbonna would be expected to keep things tight at the back, while Christy Ucheibe and Peace Efih would be saddled with the responsibility of pushing the ball upfront for the experienced and efficient Rasheedat Ajibade and the starry –eyed but clinical Anam Imo.
Nigeria take on Haiti at the same venue on Thursday, before closing the group D attrition with China at the Stade de Clos Gastel in Dinan/Lehon on Monday next week.