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Jiwuaku and the Flamingos: In Cheers and tears, a double-edged tale

When Linda Jiwuaku replaced Faith Omilana in goal against USA to guide  Nigeria to an historic first ever FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup semi-final, the cheers was defeaning for her and the team .

In the semi-final against Colombia, Coach Bankole Olowookere expectedly effected the quater-final winning substitions one of which had quater-final spot kick hero Linda Jiwuaku replace regular shotstopper Faith Omilana.

Out of five kicks, Jiwuaku stopped one to present Nigeria’s fifth kicker Edafe a chance to score and send the Flamingos into the final.

Edafe missed her kick. Even the greatest and most talented players do miss from the spot which is why it is regarded as a game of luck.

The negative reactions which followed the Colombia match is subject of this article.

WHEN LUCK DISSAPEARED, PAIN APPEARED

Nigeria eventually lost the semi-final 5-6 on penalties to Colombia and Nigerians have been very critical of Linda Jiwuaku’s performance in the shootout unlike the previous day.

In their criticism, some Nigerians like double-edged swords have ripped on the same system which brought the cheers vs USA in the quater-final.

On Wednesday afternoon, Jiwuaku went the wrong way on many occasions, a situation that many Nigerians have criticized using very odd and unprintable words.

But as is expected of every sport, she just wasn’t lucky, no sports person has ever or will ever get things their way always.

Check her movement during the penalty shootout vs USA, Jiwuaku decided on a direction before the kickers shot and on her lucky day, got all five directions right to stop two and help Nigeria to victory.

Those accusing her of not being serious vs Colombia fail should rather applaud the Colombian spot kick takers for their alertness to the goalkepeers system.

Immediately she moved, they played the ball in the other direction leaving her helplessly rooted to one spot as the ball rolled in.

BLAME ON 

Nobody should be blamed for the Semi-final loss. The girls gave their all but luck had dissapeared as the known system failed and Jiwuaku failed to fly as usual.

Already the Flamingos have booked a place in history by reaching the last four. A final spot would have been fantastic but failing to reach does not villify the efforts of the girls like some Nigerians have taken to social media platforms to suggest.

Even the new Nigeria Football Federation helmsman Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau is not spared of the unjustified shots in this double-edged tale .

The Zamfara-born Sports Administrator hit India, conversed with the girls and even made financial pledges to spur up the girls, something same group of critics applaud in other Football Federations .

DOUBLE-EDGED REACTIONS

Immediately after the final whistle, Nigerians were expectedly sad and dissapointed the Flamingos did not emerge victorious after coming so close.

While some took to social media to hail the girls for getting that far, some were dissapointed it didn’t go well while others whose reactions led to this article presented double-edged submissions.

The most widely held being ” The Coach should have left Faith Omilana to continue today, ” and ” The NFF President shouldn’t have watched the game.”

For the decision to substitute Faith Omilana for Linda Jiwuaku, Coach Bankole Olowookere would have been crucified if he hadn’t made that substitution and Nigeria still lost.

Same Nigerians would have criticized and crucified the Coach for not being technically sound enough to deploy a system that worked well against the United States.

On the Federation Presidents prescence and motivational package, same group would have laid the foundation of the loss on ‘ lack of motivation ‘

IN CHEERS AND TEARS 

Truth is, Nigerians should always imbibe the spirit of Sportsmanship.

That way, we will realize and accept that football has three outcomes, You win , draw or lose.

Calling players and officials unprintable names such as the post match reaction to the Flamingos penalty shootout loss to Colombia is very odd to the spirit of this game.

They gave their all but it just didn’t go well leaving everyone (including the team and officials) pained.

In cheers and tears, Nigerians should be proud of Linda Jiwuaku and the Flamingos for getting this far at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. A large section of football followers do.

The others may rightly be used as case study of why the fight against Hooliganism in Nigerian football has not achieved significant success. They want to win always or crush everything in search of reasons for defeat.

 

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