Falconets of Nigeria defeated Tanzania counterpart 2-1 at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Sunday in the 2024 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
Goals by Janet Akekoromowei and Comfort Folorunsho gave Nigeria the deserved winning and progress to the final round of qualifiers for the U20 Women’s World Cup finals.
This came after a sour afternoon for Nigerian football fans as the Super Eagles were held to 1-1 draw by the Warriors of Zimbabwe in neutral Rwanda pitch in the race to 2026 FIFA World Cup finals.
The Falconets, however, gladden the hearts of Nigeria football followers as they edged their Tanzanian counterparts 3-2 on aggregate to reach the final round, where they will take on Burundi’s U20 girls.
The 2022 World Cup quarter-finalists, who have never been absent from the global finals, swarmed on the visitors from the first blast of the whistle, but poor marksmanship on the part of former U17 team striker Opeyemi Ajakaye disappointed them of an early goal.
But Akekoromowei eventually put Nigeria in the lead after 16 minutes, when she rifled home from the edge of the box after an intelligent pass from Taiwo Afolabi.
Five minutes later, the East Africans equalised when goalkeeper Shukura Bakare dropped the ball from an innocuous-looking free-kick 35 yards out and Jamila Mnunduka put the ball to the back of the net.
The Nigeria’s side would have been in the front in the 25th minute, but defender Shukurat Oladipo’s well-struck free-kick from 40 yards was parried away by goalkeeper Zulfa Ally Makau. Ajakaye failed to make hay with another opportunity in the 33rd minute.
On the hour mark, defender Comfort Folorunsho scored the winning goal for Nigeria’s national teams when she leapt highest to head home from Afolabi’s cross after a couple of touches from a corner kick.
The Falconets will now take on Burundi in the final round of qualifiers, to determine one of Africa’s flagbearers at next year’s global championship to be hosted by Colombia.