Nigeria’s Under-20 female national team, the Falconets, has suffered a psychological setback ahead of its match against Cameroon this weekend, in the qualifiers for the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
The team’s plan to arrive in Cameroon early ahead of the match was dealt a blow Wednesday when the Virgin Nigeria Boeing 737 plane ferrying them from Lagos was forced to make an emergency landing in the Southern oil city of Port Harcourt.
The airline said the pilot of the plane had to make a ”precautionary landing” when he noticed smoke in the cabin, apparently from a malfunctioning engine.
The players and their officials were forced to spend the night in Port Harcourt, and it is not yet clear how soon they will fly out to Yaounde for their engagement.
The Falconets are already under pressure after they could only manage a 1-nil win in the first leg of the first round qualifying match in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja.
Nigeria is the only African side to have participated at all three previous editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup: 2002 (Canada), 2004 (Thailand) and 2006 (Russia).
Despite the setback, Falconets’ coach Dan Evumena has expressed the optimism that his wards will progress to the next round. Panapress.