Following the Flamingos’ defeat to Colombia in Wednesday’s semi-final of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Goa, head coach Bankole Olowookere has assured Nigerians the girls still have a lot to play for in the third place.
Flamingos on Wednesday lost 6-5 on penalties to the South American side after the match ended goalless in regulation time.
In his post-match reaction, Flamingos head coach Bankole Olowookere reflected on his side’s semi-final loss and plans for the third-place match.
“It has happened like this, you can’t control it, and they will feel the pain, imagine if we were playing in the final. I will give them time to soak and after a while, we will come in as a parent, as a father, I will talk to them and the rest of my technical crew will play our parental role and calm them down.
“All is not lost, if we can put our heads together, we can still get something in the third-place match.
“The girls have done well, this is the semi-final, a big stage in the tournament, it’s a very tough match. Like I told you, the more you progress, the more difficult it becomes. Colombia are tough opponents; it is just unfortunate that they did not win the match during regulation time.”
He also refused to blame Comfort Folorunsho, who lost the penalty that handed Colombia the win, insisting that any player could have lost a penalty kick.
“The person who missed her penalty is our specialist in taking a penalty, that is the game of penalties and I can’t say more than that because they are still young and I don’t know when they will listen to this interview. They have given their all, anybody can miss a penalty, even the best players in the world and big players before now have been missing penalties, so they should not to be crucified. It’s just unfortunate, anybody can score and anybody can lose a penalty.”
“The girls have tried their best to take Nigeria far in this tournament and have done well for the country.
On the other hand, Flamingos captain, Alvine Dah-Zossu, also regretted the loss but vowed the team will work hard to deliver the bronze medal.
“Wednesday’s defeat was really devastating, we wanted to play in the final, but we didn’t make it.
“We were pained and heartbroken last night, I want to apologize to the fans that believed in us. We have picked ourselves up and will do all we can to win the bronze medal.”
The Flamingos face group stage opening match opponents Germany in the bronze-medal match on Sunday.
This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago