Ebere Orji

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Nigeria's Falconets make history, reach World Cup Final

Posted: 30 July 2010 Time: 06:54

Nigeria became the first African team to reach the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup final as they overcame Columbia with a 2nd-minute goal in Bielefeld.

They now face Germany in the same stadium on Sunday, the host nation easing past Korea Republic to give themselves a chance to lift the trophy for the second time.

The South American team gave their all as rain fell and made conditions difficult. They were restricted to few opportunities by the powerful Falconets who seized on their early chance and then produced a solid, organised performance to delight their tuneful band of supporters who gradually drowned out both the Colombian cheerleaders and also a rival German band.

There was an amazing start to the game as Nigeria scored wthin the first two minutes. It began with what was no more than a hopeful punt up field from captain Joy Jegede, standing just inside the opposition half. The ball landed in the penalty area where the high bounce took it over goalkeeper Paula Forero and against the bar. Only Ebere Orji was alive to the possibilities and she scored easily and without pressure.

Stung into action, Colombia looked for an immediate reply. Yorely Rincon, their most important performer in the absence through suspension of Lady Andrade, tried her luck from outside the area while Daniela Montoya was no closer as she took aim a little later.

A better chance for the South Americans came as a corner was flicked on and fell to captain Natalia Gaitan at the far post. By the time she had the ball under control the angle was tight however and with several defenders standing in the way the shot was deflected and fell kindly to a Nigeria player.

More pressure followed as Colombia worked the ball neatly to their front players. This time Rincon's shot rose inches over the bar. Then suddenly the pacy west African were striding away on the counter-attack. Esther Sunday’s pass invited Desire Oparanozie to chase and she just got to the ball ahead of the goalkeeper. Natalia Gaitan was back to cover but didn’t get her clearance away and that put Oparanozie back in charge with the goal gaping before she tumbled over Gaitan and fell to the ground. No penalty was awarded.

It remained an even struggle in the second half with both teams struggling to carve out clear opportunities. Nigeria threatened through Desire Oparanozie who muscled her way through and saw a dangerous cross earn a corner. Orji, an impressive performer from first to last, worked a crossing chance which Natalia Ariza missed but Oparanozie could not take advantage.

As the half wore on however Colombia grew in belief and succeeded in pegging their opponents back. In the 73rd minute substitute Katerin Castro, who had proved an effective substitute, shot and the Nigeria goalkeeper struggled to field it cleanly.

That was followed by an outstanding drive from Rincon some way from goal. Alaba Jonathan was beaten but the ball came back off the bar with no one on hand to profit from the rebound.

The game ended with chances at both ends, Orji forcing the ball over from Oparanozie's pull-back while Jonathan was grateful to hold onto a cross with Colombia's forwards waiting to take advantage.

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Previous comments on this story...

posted: 07:16 am
glory be to God.... falconets una do well
Super Green
posted: 07:24 am
@eye_on_eagles - Its got nothing to do with God...they played well!
Super Green
posted: 07:25 am
@eye_on_eagles -Give the players credit you nasty piece of xxxx
posted: 07:37 am
Falconets said it before the match that they have faith to overcome colombia,now your faith is justified by result.If you keep up with your faith and never listen to your fears,the cup is yours.God is that whose centre is everywhere.Go for the cup girls,God is with you.
posted: 07:42 am
Soccer Critic ( Tivani )
posted: 07:54 am
So, what was the President of Nigeria thinking,by banning Nigeria from international games?
posted: 08:18 am
@Soccer Critic ( Tivani ),
The strategy of the president of Nigeria worked for us. That is the reason for producing this stunning results with the falconets.
From henceforth, it can only get better for Nigerian soccer.
Well done girls. May your husbands love you very well for this great feat.
Chain Gang
posted: 08:22 am
They are so lucky to be in the final. They were supposed to have lost tht game that was decided on penalties. There was one of the penalty takers who was allowed to re-take the penalty three times until he scores. That was not fair. Three times?

Congrats anyway!

Chain Gang Commander
posted: 09:02 am
Chain Gang: 2010-07-30 08:22 [ Report ]

I am a South African therefore I am African- I love my continent and I love all African people. Chain Gang can't you just congratulate our fellow sisters for doing well. I think they didn't get to the final by chance - they deserved it ! Finish and klaar!! I really hate it when I see African behaving like you Chain Gang!! Everything that happens in the game is the part of the game and whoever win the game is the winner and not a winner by chance. Did you see what happened to our fellow brothers(Ghana) in the world cup in our own continent and for God sake in our country SA! They lost the game to Uruguay, yes they we so unfortunate and that was part of the game so stop this nonsense and congratulate Nigeria!
posted: 09:08 am
Well done we are proud of you girls!!
posted: 09:13 am
Well done you guys...oooppps (i mean you chicks) you have made Africa so proud. Parreira i hope you are watching, this team has made their country and Africa proud.....not this nonsense of yours where BB were shown the door in the 1st round and u claim they made us proud.

I wich you all the best in the final...just watch your backs those Germans look deadly. Score early again please to put them under pressure. I m proud of you.
posted: 09:18 am
CONGRATULATION OUR FALCONNETS!!! You make Nigeria and all Africa proud. In the grace of God, The suprem cup will be for you,Amen. A DUPE OOOOO, NINU OHUN GBOGBO, ADURA ATI ISE NI A NEED FOR THE SUCCEES(English: In every thing in this world, you have need to pray and work for the success)
posted: 09:18 am
CONGRATULATION OUR FALCONNETS!!! You make Nigeria and all Africa proud. In the grace of God, The suprem cup will be for you,Amen. A DUPE OOOOO, NINU OHUN GBOGBO, ADURA ATI ISE NI A NEED FOR THE SUCCEES(English: In every thing in this world, you have need to pray and work for the success)
posted: 09:18 am
CONGRATULATION OUR FALCONNETS!!! You make Nigeria and all Africa proud. In the grace of God, The suprem cup will be for you,Amen. A DUPE OOOOO, NINU OHUN GBOGBO, ADURA ATI ISE NI A NEED FOR THE SUCCEES(English: In every thing in this world, you have need to pray and work for the success)
posted: 09:23 am
@chain again ur useless ù dont even know the reason why those penalties had to be retaken. If ù have nothin good to say about african footbal close that cave of urs. Well done girls africa is behind ù
posted: 09:36 am
@Chain Gang, take a cue from people like Bongs.I am not a Nigerian but I am proud of those girls. All their teams are doing well except the Super Eagles.They take part in every FIFA tourney and are never contempted with group stage exit. FALCONETS (or what are they called) AFRICA IS BEHIND YOU.
posted: 10:01 am
@ Chain Gang, "...until he scores."? I guess you are referring to something else.

We do not need you to congratulate us, we accept congratulations from other South Africans like @ Bongs, KaMashobana, etc.
posted: 10:11 am



posted: 10:28 am
First of all I congratulate the falconets for an outstanding performance albeit lack of technical finesse. One must be careful about adjudging female soccer but it has gradually coming of age.

At the end of the first two matches played by the Falconets, I noticed determination and persistence in the way they played and saw a strategy that paid off. Ever since then, I would say that our matches have been won on pure luck although it is part of the game. Our major problem has been the lack of cohesion in the playing pattern. We gave away almost 90% of passes made in the midfield; almost 100% of the throw-ins went the opponent; most attacks were naively stopped by putting the ball away for the throw-in or an easy corner-kick even when not under pressure. What’s more our chances at goal were easily wasted. Ebere Orji should have scored from the chance she got from Oparanozie, but I guess she did not get a quality pass. Germany scored their first goal against South Korea from a similar effort. With this standard I do not give us a chance against the coldly effective Germans!!

Modern football is played with highly organised defending and a team might only get two or three chances in the ninety minutes of play and these chances must be utilised. Our problem is that our footballers have never learnt the basics of the game properly.

All in all, we have effectively utilised our plusses which is our physical strength and condition (the Germans possess these qualities too) but will these be enough to lift the trophy?

I congratulate the Falconets and Africa for their first ever finals in any female world cup. Even if we do not lift the cup, we have shown that we have improved and can compete against the world. I hope other African countries will soon start to emulate this feat, improve on their standard and which would help to lift the standard in Africa.
posted: 10:37 am
The performance of the Great Falconets demonstrated that long held view that sports unite. In this show of unity, many well meaning South Africans today rejoice with Nigeria and Africa for the achievement of these soccer Ambassadors of Africa. For the very few that have ears, eyes, and brains but have vowed to behave like people that lack these sense, we pray that you have a change of attitude. Africans are behind you girls. Onye umunna ya diri ozi na eji ukwu agbawa uzo. God bless you our team and bench
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