Canada stumbled yet again at the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-17 Women’s World Cup quarter-final hurdle.
While controlling most of the possession, the national side couldn’t secure the scoring they needed in succumbing to Venezuela 3-2.
Despite the loss, head coach Bev Priestman was pleased with the effort and said the national program is moving in the right direction.
“If we look at what this is about, it’s about the future and I think the girls really paved a way for the expectation of how Under-17 players should come through and move up our system,” said Priestman. “It’s exciting to know that this can be achieved through the Canadian system.”
Some of the players could be part of the national team in this year’s Under-20 World Cup in Canada and others could be in the senior women’s squad when the World Cup comes to this country next year. In addition, at least four of the players could be eligible at the Under-17 level in two years.
“That’s the exciting thing,” added Priestman. “This system, in terms of true alignment, is only just starting. We have achieved some big milestones that might take a few years to achieve for many countries, but for me, Canada has a real exciting future.”
Canada bowed out to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the round of eight in the last tournament in Azerbaijan two years ago and at the same stage of the 2008 inaugural competition in New Zealand.
African countries Nigeria and Ghana also exited at the quarter-final stage of the Under-17 World Cup in Costa Rica.
Nigeria’s seven-match unbeaten streak was halted by Spain which recorded an emphatic 3-0 shutout while Ghana fell to Italy on penalty kicks after the two teams were tied 2-2 at the end of extra time.
Meanwhile, Eritrea has pulled out of the qualifiers for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Morocco. They were scheduled to face South Sudan in the first round of the preliminary phase over two legs this month.
No reason was given for Eritrea’s withdrawal, but recent defections by players may have led to the decision by the country’s soccer federation.
A total of 17 players and the team doctor absconded at the 2012 East & Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda. Four Eritrean athletes also left their base and sought political asylum in Britain after the 2012 London Olympics.