Nigeria and Ghana will represent the continent yet again at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup after they respectively edged South Africa and Cameroon on Saturday.
The Falconets of Nigeria beat Basetsana 6-0 and 8-0 on aggregate whilst Ghana’s Princesses won 3-0 against their Cameroonian counterparts to claim the other slot 4-1 on aggregate.
Seeking their ninth successive appearance at the World Cup at the Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Falconets got off to a good start with the opening goal as early as the fifth minute courtesy of Gift Monday.
In-form Rasheedat Ajibade added the second goal in the 21st minute and some five minutes later, Anam Imo also found the net following a rebound.
Six minutes later, Ajibade was back in the hunt again with her second goal of the evening and her tenth in the qualifying phase. Five minutes to the end of the first stanza, Monday was on the score sheet yet again before Imo completed got her own brace in the 73rd minute.
The Nigerians however ended the game with ten players after Monday was sent off for a second yellow card on 65 minutes.
“Our road to France 2018 has been beautiful because each of the opposition we met actually had a way at coming against us; but each match prepared us better for the next, the harder the team, the harder our preparation,” noted Falconets head coach, Christopher Danjuma.
“We respected South Africa but we had Nigerians behind us right from the first qualifier against Tanzania. Victory today against South Africa means we must work harder since we have qualified for the World Cup because hard work pays; I’m really happy we made it.”
Defeat notwithstanding, South Africa coach Maude Khumalo took away some positives, saying the experience would serve her wards well in the future.
“I’m not really disappointed (we didn’t even get a goal against Nigeria) despite the fact that we created some good chances in the second half; experience was just the major difference between us and Nigeria. This team is a feeder to the Banyana Banyana just like we had some players from the U-17 in this team, so it’s continuity for us”.
Elsewhere, experience counted much in Cape Coast Stadium as Ghana’ two well-taken first half goals through Ernestina Abambila and Priscilla Adubea as well as a third late goal in the second half by Sandra Owusu Ansah handed the Princesses their fifth World Cup ticket after 2010, 2012 and 2014 and 2016.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup France 2018 will be played between August 5 and 24 in the French Brittany region with venues in Vannes, Concarneau, Saint Malo and Dinan-Lehon.