Lagos - Head Coach Peter Dedevbo has showered encomiums on
his Nigeria U20 girls, even as the Falconets crashed out of the 2016 FIFA U20
Women's World Cup despite two wins out of three matches.
The Falconets' dreams of advancing in the tournament was
truncated despite a 2-1 victory over Spain that gave saw them finishing on six
points as Japan and Spain, News24
For Dedevbo, his girls deserve all the accolades because
they proved themselves worthy ambassadors of Africa's most populous nation.
The 2014 World Cup silver medal –winning Coach noted that
the girls gave their best in flying Nigeria and Africa’s flag but it was
unfortunate that they were so cruelly eliminated, despite finishing with the
same six points as the two other teams (Japan and Spain) that advanced to the
"Sincerely apeaking, you all are stars and I am proud
of you. Despite the circumstances, you were not disgraced. We had lofty dreams
of making it to the final or even going one better than we took our country in
Canada four years ago, but it was not to be. Collectively and individually, we
worked towards achieving that goal, but our best could not take us that far,”
The Nigerian girls flexed their muscles and fought hard
before a capacity crowd at the Papua New Guinea Stadium to earn a 2-1 win over
Spain. The match was played under heavy wind conditions that did not help
either of the teams as they struggled in the cirumstances.
Also read: We are down but not out, says Falconets coach Dedevbo
However, the joy of victory was shortlived for the Falconets
as Japan's routing of Canada in the other Group B match meant Japan and Spain
advanced and Nigeria would go home. The Nigerian delegation will return home on
Wednesday, 23rd November.
Meanwhile, stand-in captain and scorer of the winning goal,
Chiwendu Ihezuo wept profusely after Nigeria’s early exit from the 2016 FIFA
U20 Women’s World Cup on Sunday.
Ihezuo, who won the FIFA Live Your Goals Player of the Match
award in the win over Spain, couldn't control her emotions as she broke down at
the post match press conference.
The BIIK Zazygurt of Kazakhstan player, with two goals from
three games, lamented her inability to actualize her dreams of contesting for
the tournament's golden boot. She was instrumental to Falconets’ presence in
Papua New Guinea, scoring sevem goals out of the 13 Nigeria recorded during the
"I had high hopes for this tournament. I even set a
target of six goals for myself, but my dreams have been blown away like dust in
the winds. I admit that our predicament today was as a result of the six goals
we conceeded against Japan. I kept hoping for a turn-around that would see us
progress in the competition.
"I pushed extra hard. The consolation for my much
–desired Golden Boot is this award and I am grateful to God for it,” Ihezuo
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- News24 Nigeria