By Taofeek Lawal
With the qualifiers for the Women’s U17 World Cup in India later this year set to begin, handlers of Nigeria’s national U17 female team, the Flamingos, have assured that the team would ensure that they secure a ticket to the tournament.
The team resumed training at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday with 21 players. The training was conducted by the assistant coach of the team, Olowookere Bankole, pending the appointment of the head coach, and supervised by the Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Bitrus Bewarang.
Speaking with Newspeak correspondent after the training, Bankole, who has had coaching stints with the Lagos State Football Association, Kosofe and Odi Olowo Local Council Areas in Lagos State among others, assured that the team will qualify for the tournament.
He said that he was impressed by the quality and spirit displayed by the girls and believes that they will give their best when it matters most.
His words: “I need players that are determined, will not give up and can withstand pressure which is what I have seen here today. I believe with the support of the NFF and the determination of the girls, we’ll not let Nigerians down. I’m the type that believes in hard work. I don’t bank on luck”.
Expressing readiness to work with whoever NFF appoints as head coach, Coach Bankole stressed that he believes he possesses the prerequisite knowledge to turn around female football for good in Nigeria.
“I have coached the boys for a long time. I switched to female football because I know I have a lot to offer. I saw that a lot things are not right in female football and I believe I have what it takes to make some corrections which I did as the head coach of Team Lagos to the National Sports Festival in 2018 here in Abuja after which I got an appointment to coach a female League side, Dream Stars and we played Premier League (female football) last season.”
The Flamingos will tackle their Guinean counterparts later this month in a qualifying game.
The 2020 FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup will hold in India from November 2 to November 21, 2020.