Ratings in football are made based on results.
For defeating Germany to be cladded with bronze at the India 2022 U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Nigeria’s Flamingo’s are the best in the countries history.
HISTORY: FLAMINGO’S AT THE WORLD CUP
Prior to the India 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Nigeria’s best finish was a quater-final place in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
The Flamingo’s did not cross the group stage in two editions (2008 and 2016) and missed the 2018 edition.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s effects on the world, the U-17 Women’s World Cup which takes place every two years could not be held in 2020.
By the time Coach Bankole Olowookere and his girls arrived in India for the 2022 edition, it was 6 years since the last appearance at the U-17 World Cup.
FLAMINGOS AND THE BURDEN OF HISTORY
Their opening day loss to Germany would not help Nigerians erase the memory from the last appearance in 2016.
In that tournament, Nigeria failed to score in a win-less appearance that got even worse with the failure to qualify for the 2018 edition.
Coach Bankole Olowookere and the Flamingos picked themselves to wins over Chile and New Zealand to earn a place in the quarter-final.
The last eight ” Bus-Stop ” tag will not be helped by Nigeria’s pairing against the goal banging United States of America ladies.
In truth, the Flamingos did start the quater-final as underdog’s tipped to exit the tournament at the last-eight as Usual.
WHAT THEY ACHIEVED
Against the widely held expectation and burden of history, Nigeria knocked the United States out of the tournament on penalties following a 1-1 regulation time score.
That win ensured the Nigerian ladies secured a place in the history book with a first ever semi-final appearance at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Following that feat, the Flamingos moved from pretenders to possible title contenders which explains why the semi-final loss to Colombia felt like a lost gold to the Nigerian team, the countries citizens and the entire African continent.
That will pass away, and like every successful teams who don’t sit too long in thoughts of a loss, the Flamingos moved to the next.
For them, a third-place final presented another opportunity to get some cheer.
Against Germany in the afternoon of Sunday October 30, 2022, it was FIFA U17 WWC: Sweet revenge as Flamingos edge Germany on penalties to pick up bronze medal.
A happy finish for the girls who represent hope for a Nation battling to reclaim it’s place as undisputed queens of Africa women’s football.
In future, Nigeria’s Super Falcons will be dominated by this girl’s alongside names from the U-20’s as the old legs bow out in turns.
IN THE END
Spain defeated Colombia 1-0 in the Final of the India 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to retain their title.
In the end, it is Spain, Colombia and Nigeria who will leave India as the best three U-17 Women’s football teams in the World.
Arise O! Compatriots, this is historic!.