Nigeria’s U-17 women’s team coach, Bala Nikyu, has blamed poor officiating for his girls 2-2 draw against Cameroon in their 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final round, first leg clash on Saturday.
Nikyu stated while addressing journalists Channels Television at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, Edo State.
“We had the opportunity of winning these people. If you look at the referee, she is one-sided. We are playing Cameroon and they brought a French-speaking referee. I don’t bother whether they are under-aged or over-aged.”
“I have the belief that we have the ability to beat them, if not for her careless attitude to officiating.”
According to him, it was wrong for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to appoint a referee from a french speaking country to officiate the match.
Precious Vincent put Nigeria ahead after 100 seconds with a smart finish from Osaretin Ikekhua’s pass. But the Lionesses drew level only eight minutes later, with a brilliant header by Marie Ngah, and then shot into the lead just before the interval through Alice Kameni.
Ikekhua would turn scorer in the 54th minute, putting away a free –kick to draw Nigeria level in the evening.
The scoreline means the Flamingos must put up an impressive performance to overcome their opponents in the return leg in Yaounde in two weeks’ time, in order to earn a ticket to the 6th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup taking place in Uruguay later this year.
To reach the last round of qualifiers, the Flamingos drew 1-1 with Ethiopia in Addis Ababa and both teams finished the return 0-0 in Benin. The away goal earned Nigeria passage at the expense of the East Africans.
Only a win in Yaounde or a high score draw from 3-3, will see Nigeria sustain her reputation of playing in every edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup since the competition was launched in New Zealand 10 years ago.