March, 19 2022.
Two goals by Opeyemi Ajakaiye and one each by Tumininu Adeshina, Anastasia Atume and Taiwo Afolabi steered Nigeria’s U17 girls to a 5-0 defeat of their counterparts from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in their second round second leg tie of African qualifying series for this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup. The result in Benin City took the Flamingos to an 8-0 aggregate win over the Central Africans.
Ajakaiye, who also scored for the Flamingos in a 3-0 win in the first leg in Kinshasa a fortnight ago, picked her spot to slot past goalkeeper Michel Nsona for Nigeria’s first as early as the 4th minute, sending a message that it would be another heavy day for the Congolese.
Before then, hard working captain Alvine Dah-Zossu had dragged her shot too wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. The Flamingos, with deft touches and good positioning, created chance after chance on the inviting turf of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium but poor marksmanship robbed them of a basketful of goals.
In the 7th minute, Ajakaiye missed making it number two but her chip went narrowly wide, and at the other end, Benedicte Kamba found herself face to face with goalkeeper Faith Omilana but lost the heart to take decision.
Ajakaiye made it two for Nigeria in the 14th minute, after goalkeeper Nsona crashed into defender Gizele Matumba in an attempt to foil the danger. Five minutes later, defender Tumininu Adeshina recreated the goal she scored for the Flamingos in Kinshasa, heaving the ball above the goalkeeper from a free kick close to the corner flag.
Dorcas Msimba-Dilu came close for the visitors from 20 yards, Dah-Zossu cut in and missed narrowly, Ajakaiye faltered from only eight yards, Miracle Usani grazed the crossbar with a shot and the Congolese missed a sitter as the first period closed out at 3-0 for Nigeria.
In the second half, Ajakaiye and Blessing Emmanuel wasted good opportunities before substitute Anastasia Atume scored Nigeria’s fourth goal in the 58th minute. In the 70th minute, Atume screened two defenders but heaved the ball too high, before Adeshina again struck the upright from the right flank.
Two minutes to the end, impressive midfielder Taiwo Afolabi capped a good day with an eye-catching goal from a good run and intelligent finish that left Nsona with no chance.
Nigeria will now clash with Egypt’s U17 girls in the third round of the series next month, with the final round of the qualifiers scheduled for the month of May.