Flamingoes coach speaks on focus, hope ahead of make or break tie

By Chibuogwu Nnnadiegbulam 



Nigeria are currently one of the six teams at the ongoing FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016, in dire need of points, having started off their campaign on a losing note.

Brazil had, on Saturday, inflicted a first ever opening match defeat on the Flamingoes with an audacious long range shot from their skilful No 10, Micaelly, and have remained atop Group C following the intriguing 3-3 draw between England and North Korea.
Coach Bala Nikyu, however, would rather remain unperturbed in spite of the fact that his side are rocking the bottom of the Group.
“One thing with a competition is, you cannot lose your first match and rule yourself out,” Nikyu stated while speaking with AIPSMEDIA at the Al Jazeera training site on Sunday.
He continued: “Because if you remember very well, in this U17 (Women’s World Cup) Ghana, after losing their first match, won the last two matches and played up to the semi finals and won third place. That was in Azerbaijan.
“So losing the first match does not make someone to lose focus,” the 52-year-old affirmed.
With two more games left to play in the group stage, Nigeria definitely still has as much chance as Brazil, North Korea and England, to progress to the knockout stages, with Group C looking even more unpredictable after the first set of matches.
And Nikyu had this message for Nigerians ahead of their next game against the Young Lionesses of England.
“We are still putting in our best to make sure that we don’t come here and go back without anything.”
One of the steps Nikyu has taken to ensure this, is by observing the style of play of Nigeria’s remaining group opponents as they shared the spoils in a six-goal thriller also on Saturday.
“Well, I watched the two of them and from what I saw, the two teams are good ball users.” he noted. “And from their own style of play, we should be able to have a way of playing against that.
“In every competition, the first match is always a bit difficult, and as such everybody is always in a rush to play. So I assume they did that because it was a first match, from the second match I’m sure they would cool down and play. Even if they don’t cool down to play, we are prepared ourselves.
“I’ve been opportune to watch them and I think we would work towards that,” Nikyu concluded, giving a sense of assurance.
The Flamingoes on Sunday trained for about two hours at the Al Jazeera training site with their eyes fixed on the make or mar game against England on Tuesday at Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Zarqa.
Since the inception of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, Nigeria have failed to qualify for the Quarter Finals just once and that was in the first edition in 2008.
Kickoff is 2pm Nigerian time.

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