The FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup has a reputation of an exciting tournament, though very predictable – three nations have won the previous eight tournaments. On the African continent, Ghana and Nigeria have held the torch for the previous five tournaments – that should be enough for you to predict.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito” – “everyone has a package, not many people open theirs” – these and other African proverbs are some of the farewell messages families and friends are likely to infuse in the minds of these 42 players selected by both Nigeria and Ghana charged to hoist the flag of the continent.
Nigeria is the only African nation to have made it to all nine competitions and one of the four nations to have done so(USA, Germany and Brazil are the other three). They have made the final twice, losing to Germany on both occasions in 2010 and 2014.
The Super Falconets have been accompanied by the Black Princesses in the last five tournaments and the latter are yet to make it out of the first round of the tournament.
The continent undoubtedly boasts of a myriad of talents and some at this stage will float above their peers and it’s a matter of who wills it more as the 9th edition of the FIFA Under-20 Female World Cup kick-starts on Sunday, August 5.
In this article, I will be sharing with you orderly, six players, three from each team likely to ruffle shoulders to become the very best in the tournament and perhaps charge through to bring Africa the first title.
1. Ernestina Abambila – Unattached
It’s not a day’s job trying to reinterpret the tenets laid down by Ernestina Abambila. The 19-year-old have played in almost every role for the Black Maidens, Black Princesses and Black Queens.
She’s robust, skillful, very top on his passing game and has great shot power – all in one person.
The former FC Minsk midfielder is the only Ghanaian to score in UEFA’s prestigious Women’s Champions League, she scored in FC Minsk’s victory over Slovenia’s Ljubljana in the 2017-18 season.
Ernestina Abambila is a household name already; a 90-minute equaliser with a well-struck free-kick against Italy in the quarter finals of the 2014 FIFA U-17 World Cup will demand opponents to be more alert, she again scored a magnificent blast from range to put Ghana ahead in a group stage game against USA at Papua New Guinea – she has a knack for scoring screamers.
Her versatility should be able to propel Coach Yusif Basigi’s side; Abambila can play everywhere on the pitch.
2. Rasheedat Ajibade – FC Robo
Rasheedat Ajibade seems bound to play at the very top of her career. Opportunely for her, she’s still 18 and this tournament is easily predicted one that should be a breakthrough for her.
The Football Club Robo forward has tasted 10 games at FIFA organised competitions; 7 at the 2016 Under-17 World Cup and 3 at the 2016 Under-20 World Cup scoring 2 goals.
Ajibade impressively banged in 10 goals in the qualifiers and is likely the most expected to shine when Nigeria take to the field against 3 times Champions, Germany, before wrapping the group up against Haiti and China PR.
She has the ability to turn half chances to goals and will obviously be the live-wire upfront for the Super Falconets.
3. Glory Ogbonna – Ibom Angels Football Club
The 19-year-old center back sparks a sense of constant watching and will be heading into the 2018 tournament as one of the few to have maintained their place in the team from the previous tournament.
Ogbonna is one of the 2016 squad to endure that painful exit from the world cup despite beating Spain and Canada.
She has honed her style as a footballer – a defender comfortable with the ball at her feet, eager to move forward and make things happen as much as shut out the oppositions.
She’s well expected to hold the lines for the Super Falconets.
4. Grace Asantewaa – Ampem Darkoa Ladies
Arguably the most improved Ghanaian female footballer in the last two years. Asantewaa has featured in tournaments for the Black Maidens (Jordan 2016), Black Queens (WAFU 2018) and now completing the trend with Black Princesses.
Her sublime skills, marvelous techniques and ability to effortlessly ghost past opposition defense to create goal scoring opportunities at will makes her one of the players to lean on going into the tournament.
She has already lifted a trophy with the Black Queens and will look to overturn Black Princesses’ inability to make it out of the first round of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
5. Anam Imo – Nassarawa Amazons
At age 17, Imo has already neared a senior national team appearance and was omitted from the 2016 Super Falcons squad for the African Women’s Cup of Nations.
The Center Forward has the muscle, bustle and hustle to cause opponents damage and despite a few faults, would be a name to be feared on Super Falconets’ team sheet.
Anam Imo is a natural goal scorer exemplified by the fact that easily turn heads around effortlessly. She might be forced to start on the bench at the will of Rasheedat Ajibade, but will relish a little time prove her worth.
6. Sandra Owusu Ansah – Supreme Ladies
Sandra Owusu Ansah doesn’t dribble as much; she relies on that poacher instinct of hers. She tends to play in and around the penalty box, cutting in from the left or getting on the end of crosses.
18-year-old Sandra Owusu Ansah will look to have a goal again against Les Bleuets goalie Mylene Chavas. The Supreme Ladies forward, who was 16 years old back then launched in a low strike to draw Ghana level against France, in an eventual two all draw.
The Supreme Ladies forward is earmarked to lead the lines for the Black Princesses at the absence of Priscilla Adubea.
She has already powered in 7 goals in 10 competitive outings for the Black Princesses including a goal France’s Mylene Chavas two years back.