Nigeria U17 women’s national team returned home with a medal from the India 2022 U17 Women’s World Cup after recording a decent performance at the tournament.

They are the second African country, after Ghana at the 2012 edition in Azerbaijan, where the Black Maidens walked away with the bronze medal.

Bankole Olowookere’s side ended their campaign with bronze medals around their necks after beating Germany 3-2 on penalties after the encounter ended 3-3 on Sunday.  At one point in the game, Nigeria enjoyed a three-goal lead courtesy of goals from Opeyemi Ajakaye, Amina Bello, and Etim Edidiong.

Even though the Flamingos allowed the three-time semi-finalists to come back into the game, their nerves of steel helped them across the finish line.

The third-place victory was a revenge win after the African side to Germany in the group stages of the competition in which the Flamingos lost the match 2-1.

Olowookere says although the team was able to hold their own to win the match, this might have been their toughest match of the tournament.

“It was very difficult. This was the only team that we needed to do before leaving the tournament. We had done it all,” he said.

“This is what we call the last hour. We came into the game hoping that our players had learned of the opponents. They gave us a good fight and it is good for a final like this.”

Spot kicks were the saving grace for the Nigerian side in the knockout stages, their semifinal also had to go through the lottery of penalties after their match ended in a goalless draw against Colombia, unfortunately, Olowookere’s charges were not so lucky.

The Nigerian team has been grateful for the support it received in their home country and the entire continent throughout the competition.

“Thank you for being with us from the beginning to the end. We didn’t want to upset them, it’s a good thing that they were standing with us in prayer and messages of support, it’s a good thing.

“I really appreciate them. I will continue to make Nigeria proud anywhere we find ourselves,” adds the coach.

The Flamingos’ run in India will serve as motivation for the Super Falcons as they head to their straight ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. This may be a motivation that the senior women’s team needs to go past the quarter-finals.

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