By James Agberebi: Nigeria’s Falconets have qualified for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup after thrashing South Africa 6-0 in the second leg of the final round of the qualifiers at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, on Saturday.
The Falconets, who lost Gift Monday to a red card in the second half, qualified 8-0 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-0 in Polokwane a fortnight ago.
The victory over South Africa over two legs means the Falconets will be making their ninth straight appearance at the U-20 Women’s World Cup since their debut at the maiden edition in 2002 in Canada.
Prior to kick-off, both teams held a minute silence for former Nigeria Football Federation board member Deji Tinubu, who passed away on Thursday.
The Falconets got off to the perfect start as Monday made it 1-0 following a pass from Rasheedat Ajibade.
Ajibade got the Falconets second goal in the 21st minute as she rounded the South Africa keeper before slotting into the back of the net.
In the 26th minute, the Falconets went 3-0 up through Anam Imo who finished off an initial effort from Folashade Ijamilusi which came off the woodwork.
Ajibade got her second goal in the 32nd minute, making it 4-0 after tapping in from close range off a pass from Ijamilusi.
The Falconets continued to dominate their South African counterparts and added a fifth on 39 minutes thanks to Monday who grabbed her second goal of the game.
South Africa almost pulled a goal back in the 54th minute through Sibulele Holweni but she could not beat Falconets keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie despite going one on one.
In the 71st minute, the Falconets had a player sent off as Monday was shown a second yellow card following a foul.
Despite going a player down, the Falconets were on target again on 73 minutes as Imo got her second goal to bring the score to 6-0.
In the other second leg play-off, Ghana defeated Cameroon 3-0 in Cape Coast to qualify for the U-20 World Cup 4-1 on aggregate.