Nigeria have maintained their status as one of the teams that have qualified for every FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup since the tournament’s inception.
They did this in emphatic fashion on Saturday after seeing off South Africa 6-0 in the final qualifying match at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, Edo State.
Monday Gift, Rasheedat Ajibade and Anam Imo decided the one-sided contest with a brace apiece. And the result meant the Falconets sealed an effortless 8-0 aggregate victory over the Basetsana to progress to their ninth FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup.
Joining the Falconets in France this year will be the Black Princesses of Ghana for their fifth consecutive appearance in the global showpiece.
Goals from Ernestina Abambila, Princella Adubea and substitute Sandra Owusu-Ansah gave the Black Princesses a 3-0 (4-1 on aggregate) victory over Cameroon at Cape Coast Sports Stadium also on Saturday.
After booking their ticket to France, the Falconets of Nigeria departed Benin City 5.7 million naira richer.
A reward of N5 million ($14,000) from the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki was announced at a dinner organized for the team at the Government House, Benin City on Saturday night.
Before then, the Chairperson of the Nigeria Football Federation’s women’s football committee, Honourable Ayo Omidiran and a former coach of the senior women’s national team (the Super Falcons), Florence Omagbemi gave the team N500,000 ($1400) and N200,000 ($555) respectively.
Ghana’s Princella Adubea and Nigeria’s Rasheedat Ajibade were the stars of their teams in qualifying. And with 10 goals apiece, both players accounted for 19% percent of the 105 goals scored.
They can also boast the experience of having participated at the last edition of the tournament in Papua New Guinea in 2016.
Following her exploits for club – where she scored the highest number of goals in the season (19) to ensure Ampem Darkoa Ladies defended their National Women’s League title – and country, Adubea is in contention to claim the 2017 Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) Female Footballer of the Year, an award she also won last year.
Ajibade was named the Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) Player of the year 2017 at the League Bloggers Awards after finishing the season as the second highest goal scorer and saving her club, FC Robo Queens, from relegation.
(Credit: Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam, AIPS)