The past
Only four teams have made it to every edition of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, and Nigeria is one of them. They along with Brazil, Germany and USA share that distinction. Only Germany have a better record over the last three tournaments – sadly for the Super Falconets they have been beaten in the final twice (2010, 2014) by the Europeans. In between, Nigeria finished fourth after losing the semi-finals to USA and the play-off to Japan. Their performance in these three finals is a far cry from their earlier attempts when they failed to advance to the group stages in 2002 and 2004, and then were beaten in the quarter-finals in 2006 and 2008.

The present
Being Africa's most experienced side at U-17 and U-20 level, coach Peter Dedevbo will have an embarrassment of riches to chose from when finalising his squad. Surprisingly, the west Africans did not have as easy a passage to the World Cup as they would have expected. South Africa fancied their chances in the final round after scoring an away goal in Abuja during a 2-1 defeat but, somewhat against the run of play, Chinwedu Ihezuo scored the only goal of the match in the return leg in South Africa to see the Super Falconets through. “It was a tough encounter, but we were confident to nip the World Cup ticket at their expense,” said Dedevbo, who was in charge at Canada 2014. The coach, however, said that he is still open to bringing in a number of new players.

The future
Nigeria has a terrific record of promoting players from the U-17 and U-20 teams up to the Super Falcons. The U-20 team has also benefited from this, with several of the players who featured at U-20 World Cups having already enjoyed senior international experience. In Papua New Guinea, Netherlands-based striker Sophia Omidiji could become the second US-born player after Courtney Dike, who represented the team in Canada, to play for the side. Like Dike's, Omidiji's father was born in Nigeria, and it is not unlikely that the two could feature together for the Super Falcons in the not too distant future. Omidiji has said that she believes that Nigerian women's football will continue to be the shining light on the continent. “I think the future of Nigerian women’s football is as bright as is the future of African women football overall," she said.