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U-17 World Cup: Mabo defends Flamingoes

Flamingoes line-up

Former Super Falcons coach Ismaila Mabo has called on the Nigeria Football Federation not to disband the nation’s U-17 women’s team, the Flamingoes, after the team failed to progress beyond the quarterfinals at the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.The Flamingoes lost 3-0 to Spain in the quarterfinals after they had progressed to the stage, winning all their games.

The team have never gone beyond the stage since the tournament was introduced by FIFA in 2008.

Mabo, who led the Falcons to the quarterfinals of the 1999 Women’s World Cup after dominating Africa, told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday that the current Flamingoes squad could be used to prepare the senior teams.

“I was not privileged to watch any of the Flamingoes’ matches at the World Cup, but they need to be kept together and nurtured for a longer time especially after they won their first three games in the tournament,” Mabo, who now coaches Jos Stars Football Academy, said.

“The idea of disbanding a team after their World Cup failure is not the best for Nigeria. At the end of the day, it is the coach who is appointed to assemble the senior team that would be at a loss when it is time he would need experienced players.”

Mabo admitted that getting talented players for the junior teams is always challenging for the coaches.

He said, “Nigeria’s problem oftentimes emanates from players’ incorrect ages at the junior levels; overage problem persists. The need to get the right players for the team is a big challenge for the coaches.”

The age difference manifests when we face European teams that are faster on the pitch.”

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