Harry Awurumibe, Abuja.
With Nigeria out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Football Tournament following the failure of the Super Falcons and the U-23 Men’s Team (Dream Team) to qualify for the biggest multi-sports competition holding in Japan this summer, the country will now focus on picking the tickets for the two FIFA Women’s World Cup final taking place this calendar year.
As the springboards to the top in the women’s game, FIFA will stage the two biannual developmental competitions later in the year. They are the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final billed for Costa Rica and Panama in August, 2020 and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup slated for India in November, 2020.
Already, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has fixed January 17 for the first leg of the preliminary round of the African qualifying matches just as the second leg games will hold on February 2, 2020.
Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon have been drawn bye and will start their campaigns from the first round which has pitched the Falconets against the U-20 women’s football team of Burkina Faso or Gambia. Cameroon will battle the winner between Liberia and Guinea while Ghana Black Maidens will clash with the winner between Mauritania and Guinea- Bissau.
All the first round matches will be played in March, the second and third round matches will hold in May and June respectively. No fewer than 30 African countries entered for the two African tickets to represent the continent in Costa Rica and Panama.
Defending champions Japan and 2016 winners Korea DPR will represent Asia at this tournament along with Korea Republic. Germany, Spain, France and Netherlands will do likewise for Europe, while New Zealand will fly the flag for Oceania. Host nations Costa Rica and Panama will also be in the main draw.
Meanwhile, for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup African qualifiers, CAF has fixed January 10 to 26 as the first and return leg matches for the preliminary matches even as Nigeria which for the first time missed out in the 2018 edition in Uruguay has been drawn bye along side Ghana, Cameroon and South Africa.
Nigeria’s Flamingos will face Guinea or Guinea Bissau in March in the first round game while Cameroon will tackle Sao Tome and Principe or DR Congo. The winner of the match between Namibia and Zambia will confront South Africa.
However, after successfully hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, India will stage its second world finals from November 2 to 22, 2020. The hosts will represent Asia along with Japan and Korea DPR.
The qualifying competitions in the other confederations will take place in the coming months. All eyes in Europe will be on Spain, reigning world champions in the age group, who will be intent on making the trip to India to defend their title.
2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup: Nigeria’s chance to redeem image
Harry Awurumibe, Abuja.