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Falconets Off To Costa Rica For U-20 Women’s World Cup

Falconets Off To Costa Rica For U-20 Women’s World Cup

Ever-present African flag-bearers, Nigeria’s Falconets departed the shores of the country on Thursday evening for this year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals taking place in Costa Rica.

Coach Chris Danjuma has picked team captain Oluwatosin Demehin and 20 others – an overwhelming majority of whom were involved in the lengthy qualifying series – to wear Nigeria’s colours at the 19 –day championship.


The Falconets had to scale the hurdles presented by Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Senegal, winning six of seven matches (they only drew with Cameroon in Douala) to be eligible to fly Africa’s flag once more at the finals in central America.

Nigeria will play France, Canada and Korea Republic in Group C of the 16-natio tournament starting on 10th August, while 2018 runners-up Spain will tango with hosts Costa Rica, Australia and Brazil in Group A. Africa’s other flagbearers Ghana are up against Cup holders Japan, The Netherlands and three –time champions United States of America in Group D.

Germany, who have also won the competition three times, including 2010 and 2014 when they beat Nigeria in the final, will play Colombia, New Zealand and Mexico in Group B.

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All group phase and quarter final matches will be played at the Alejandro Morera Soto, which is a hybrid of natural and synthetic grass, called stitched grass. The semi final, final and third place matches will take place at the Estadio Nacional.

Nigeria’s first match of the competition will be against France, which hosted the 2018 edition. At the 2014 championship in Canada, Nigeria topped a group involving Korea Republic, beating the Koreans 2-1 in a group phase match. France finished in third place at the same competition as Nigeria finished as runners-up.


Goalkeepers: Nelly Ekeh, Monle Oyono, Peace Obidinma

Defenders: Oluwatosin Demehin, Omowunmi Oshobukola, Rofiat Imuran, Jumoke Alani, Chidinma Ogbuchi, Oluchi Ohaegbulem
Midfielders: Bashirat Amoo, Esther Onyenezide, Adoo Yina, Motunrayo Amoo, Chinyere Kalu, Deborah Abiodun

Forwards: Blessing Okpe, Joy Jerry, Mercy Idoko, Flourish Sabastine, Chioma Olise, Chiamaka Okwuchukwu


GROUP A: Costa Rica, Australia, Spain, Brazil

GROUP B: Germany, Colombia, New Zealand, Mexico

GROUP C: France, Nigeria, Canada, Korea Republic

GROUP D: Japan, The Netherlands, Ghana, USA

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  • *Final List Out, Falconets Fly Out!*

    The cat was finally out of the bag this week as coach Chris Danjuma unveiled his 21 woman squad for this year’s installment of the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

    The players are jetting out of Nigeria’s shores for the tournament imminently after a month long camping programme in Abuja.

    In typical NFF fashion, a high level training tour tweeted as being planned for this team in Columbia for the week of the 27th of July never materialised (suprise! surprise!).

    I just pray the low key tune up games in Abuja last month and the arduous, lengthy and rigorous qualification campaign (August 2021 – March 2022) have helped the team achieve blending, cohesion and understanding.

    Nigeria’s damsels brought much distress to their African counterparts in the qualifiers for this tournament as they ruthlessly swept all oppositions aside without breaking much so much of a wave goodbye.

    Now Canada, France and South Korea lie in wait in the group stages of the tournament proper which kicks off next week.

    All these teams are formidable at the this level of women’s football so Danjuma’s damsels will have to be prepared to push the envelope and nip at the heels of their opponents.

    A lot of the young ladies who made the final cut are quite precocious and well grounded in this level of football. I just hope the NFF had ratcheted thier preparations up a notch so as to finetune thier strategy. But this is NFF we are talking about!

    That said, the likes of Demehin, Imuran, Onyenezide, Jerry and Idoko wrote their names in the stars during the qualifiers with swashbuckling and compelling displays. They were able to provide more than ample glimpses of what to expect from them in Costa Rica.

    They now need to replicate this in style at the World Cup against far more formidable opponents.

    At this stage, it is hard to gauge the Falconets’ World Cup winning credentials – no Nigerian team has won the tournament at this stage. But the Falconets did reach the final on 2 occasions, losing to Germany both times.

    Will this team surpass that achievement? The answer to that question will become clearer in the coming days.

    Good luck ladies!

    Falconets Final Squad

    Goalkeepers: Nelly Ekeh, Monle Oyono, Peace Obidinma

    Defenders: Oluwatosin Demehin, Omowunmi Oshobukola, Rofiat Imuran, Jumoke Alani, Chidinma Ogbuchi, Oluchi Ohaegbulem

    Midfielders: Bashirat Amoo, Esther Onyenezide, Adoo Yina, Motunrayo Amoo, Chinyere Kalu, Deborah Abiodun

    Forwards: Blessing Okpe, Joy Jerry, Mercy Idoko, Flourish Sabastine, Chioma Olise, Chiamaka Okwuchukwu

  • Ololo 4 months ago

    If these players do well, they will be playing their way into the Senior team that is in need on Young blood, with some ageing players at the edge of retirement.. A good defender is needed to replace enome , and there is need for new right and left backs.. The super falcons need new attacking midfielders as well and a winger that is similar to ajebade.. Good luck to the team

  • Ayphillydegreat 4 months ago

    There’s one girl in that midfield who plays like JayJay I don’t know her name but from the few clips I saw during the qualifiers she’s destined for greatness. I hope she’s on the plane to Costa Rica. It’s a very tough group, but the SuperFalconets are also a powerhouse at this level. Like Ololo said if they perform well they will be playing their way into the SuperFalcons. 

  • Thanks Ololo.

    Your contribution above reminds me of a piece I wrote recently about 5 Falconets players I believe could be fast tracked into the Super Falcons squad ahead of next years women’s world cup.

    Incidentally, all of those five players I mentioned made the final cut as the squad was whittled down to 21 from 30 (I have pasted that original article is the last part of this contribution below).

    But they will need to fire on all cylinders in Costa Rica to be considered good enough to be stepped up to the senior women’s club.

    It will be a tough ask to be honest as these young ladies are up against: aging Falcons who have no intentions of hanging their boots just yet (like Onome Ebi), emerging dual nationality players and promising mature players (like centre forward Macleans Chinonyerem).

    However, buoyant, rambunctious and dazzling displays by certain Falconets players in this under 20 women’s world cup will be difficult for Waldrum, or whomever is in charge, to ignore.

    Please look out for the following players whom I believe can be easily elevated into the Super Falcons set up:

    1) Oluwatosin Demehin: the Rivers Angels centre defender was on the bench against USA in last year’s summer series.

    She was meant to be considered for further Super Falcons invitations but the decision was taken for her to first focus on her Under 20 career more so as Ebi and Ohale continue to strenuously hold on to those centre back positions beyond their prime.

    I expect Demehin to push hard for a place in the world cup next year.

    2) Flourish Sebastine : the Edo Queens speedster has a huge career in front of her after hopefully setting the Under-20 world cup ablaze.

    She plays with a style similar to Ademola Lookman and Rasheedat Ajibade with her blistering pace, trickery and killer instinct in front of goal.

    Owing to the plethora of indigenous and dual nationality attacking options open to the Super Falcons presently, next year’s World Cup might just have come too early.

    But, if over-familiar faces like Ordega, Oparanozie, Ayinde, Okobi and Chikwelu become unavailable for one reason or another, then Sebastian might just sail towards world cup consideration.

    Flourish emerged joint top scorer in world cup qualifiers with 7 scintillating goals. I expect her to take this blistering form to next month’s U-20 World Cup where hopefully her antics will attract the attention of Randy Waldrum.

    3) Mercy Idoko: the Nasarawa Amazons midfielder/attacker is the epitome of calmness with the ball. She reads the game with a level of intelligence that is way beyond her years.

    She sort of reminds me of Mikel Obi in his Under-20 days and earlier in his senior career before Mourinho’s cardinal sin of converting him into a defensive midfielder.

    I don’t see any reason why Idoko cannot be brought in to replace Rita Chikwelu. That said, the likes of Esther Okoronkwo, Peace Efih, Christie Ucheibe and Rasheedat Ajibade provide stern competition in that midfield, not to talk about evergreen duo of Okobi and Ayinde.

    But, should Mercy Idoko mesmerise audiences at the youth World Cup, then Waldrum should have an additional prospect to consider.

    Idoko, who can also play as a support striker, was third highest goals scorer in the world cup qualifiers with 5 goals.

    4) Esther Onyenezide: some would argue that the Robo Queens midfielder is the peak of the bunch and I can see why.

    Esther is very mouldable and pliable because of her football intelligence hence why she comes across as been extremely versatile.

    She has a keen eye for defence splitting passes and she sure knows her way to goal. She is technically gifted and – like Rasheedat Ajibade – can fit into a variety of wing, forward, attacking midfield, and centre midfield roles.

    She is a well conditioned athlete and definitely one to look out for at the World Cup.

    Again Onyenezide is one of those players expected to push speedily for a place in the Super Falcons squad for next year’s World Cup.

    Esther Onyenezide, along with compatriot Mercy Idoko, also scored 5 goals in the world cup qualifiers.

    5) Rofiat Imuran : the Rivers Angels fullback is not a stranger to the Super Falcons. Coach Randy Waldrum picked Imuran ahead of Michelle Alozie for Nigeria’s cruch Wafcon qualifiers against Ghana.

    Since then, the flamboyant fullback has focused more on her Falconets career. In a team desperately short of natural fullbacks, it will not shock me one bit if Waldrum hands Rofiat a call up ahead of the world cup.

    The Under 20 women’s world cup is the perfect platform for Imuran to sell herself as worthy of taking her rightful place in the Super Falcons.

    She is very rugged in her defensive duties and she loves to overlap with intent.

    Other players with an outside chance of gatecrashing the Super Falcons squad are: Joy Jerry (exciting striker), Bashirat Amoo (sturdy midfielder) and Deborah Abiodun (dependable defender).

  • Codex 4 months ago

    Reacting to your first post @deo,I watched the french team’s preparation for the u-20 WC (they were doing strength and conditioning in the gym) and their friendly games, they’re not fantastic but rather an effective team coached by an ex France international.our girls should watch out for a certain mze issa who on her day can trouble defences and the creative oceana hutre who is very tricky on the left wing,I believe that is where their strength lies.isolate their forwards and deny that midfield time and space,then we’ll win the match, easier said than done though due to Nffs sheer collective stupidity for not fulfilling their promise.

  • Ololo 4 months ago

    One reason our super falcons didnt do well was lack of quality replacement.. When ayinde and ajibade got red carded it was all over for Nigeria as we had no player on the bench that can replace what those two players give to the team.. Another reason was like of full backs.. The oyibo Lady is a central defender amd due to the fact that we didn’t come to the tournament will good full backs we started playing players in their unnatural position, both our left and right backs are not natural full backs.. How is it possible to play at our peak with such a disaster team selection..

    Probably the women afcon came too Early, if these u 20 world cup was played before the afcon we would have presented a better squad and remember the last u20 was cancelled, this must have pushed our coach to picking aging legs … These Ladies have a good chance to play at the women world cup next year , I hope they don’t miss Golden opportunity