ZIMBABWE SEEKS REVENGE AGAINST NIGERIA
Zimbabwe's Under-20 national women team, the Young Mighty Warriors, will seek to avenge the heavy defeat it suffered in the hands of Nigeria's Falconets in 2010, when both sides clash this afternoon at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.
The encounter is the second round, first leg of the African qualifiers for this year's FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup holding in Japan later in the year. Interestingly, both sides met at the same stage on the road to the 2010 edition of the same championship.
One player that looks forward to a sweet revenge today is Emmaculate Msipa, who played against the Falconets in 2010. The midfielder believes times have changed and Zimbabwean women's football has come some way since the drabbing from Nigeria in 2010.
'It is different now because we have a running league and we have some experienced players in this current squad and we are aware of what to expect and what is required at this stage of the competition. We are focused and we want to make history as the first Zimbabwean team to qualify for the World Cup finals,' Msipa declared ahead of today's clash.
But while the Zimbabwean girls are eager to better the result from the last time the two sides met, Falconets would be inspired by the recent feat of the Flamingoes, who only last weekend, at the same venue, booked a ticket to the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup holding in Azerbaijan in September. Captain Gloria Ofoegbu and her teammates have vowed to sustain the winning streak at the MKO Abiola Stadium by beating the visitors silly to make the return leg in Harare in a fortnight a mere formality.
Falconets arrived in Abeokuta early in the week with the Chief Coach, Edwin Okon, confident of a resounding victory over the Zimbabweans.
'All I am thinking of is victory and that is what we will achieve (today),' he said.
'Our big thanks must go to the Ogun State government for all the support it has given to the various women national teams that have played in Abeokuta. It is a great morale booster and for us, we will definitely reciprocate the gesture by winning our opponents convincingly,' he assured.
Okon will have the compliments of some experienced players that were in the Falconets' squad that went to the last edition of FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Prominent among them is striker Desire Oparanozie, who is expected to spearhead the Nigerian attack.