Harry Awurumibe, Abuja
With less than one month to the first leg first round of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup African qualifier tie between Nigeria and Burkina Faso slated for Ouagadougou on September 4 or 5, Nigeria’s Falconets are expected to return to camp to prepare for the crunchy encounter barring any hiccups occasioned by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Sportsrevelation has also exclusively learnt that the national U-17 women’s football team, Flamingos will return to camp soon ahead of the October 31 India 2021 African qualifier match against Black Maidens of Ghana in Accra.
The world football ruling body FIFA has since re-confirmed the dates for the 2021 FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cup final in India, Costa Rica and Panama respectively while the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had also released revised fixtures for the remaining African qualifier matches for the two global women’s football competitions earlier scheduled for this year. The revised fixtures which were signed by CAF Acting General Secretary, Abdelmounaim Bah has been sent to all the 53 Member Associations (MAs) in Africa.
But Covid-19 pandemic ensured that most important sporting events earlier slated for 2020 were either cancelled completely or postponed to 2021 and with the FIFA U-17 and U-20 now billed for January, February and March next year, CAF has confirmed the Nigeria versus Burkina Faso first round first leg match to be played in the weekend of September 3, 4 and 5 while the return leg in Nigeria will be in the weekend of September 10, 11 and 12 respectively.
According to CAF revised fixtures, should Nigeria qualify for the second round, Falconets will play another match on October 1, 2 or 3 just as the return leg will be on October 8, 9 or 10. The team will play two more matches to book a ticket to the World Cup on November 5, 6 or 7 and in the final qualifier match on November 12, 13 or 14.
Also, CAF has approved that Nigeria’s Flamingos will tackle arch-rivals, Ghana in the U-17 final qualifiers away in Accra on October 30, 31 or Nov. 1, 2020 with return leg billed for Nigeria on Nov. 19, 20 or 21.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) leadership in conjunction with the supervising ministry have been consultation with other relevant Federal Government Ministries and Agencies (MDAs) including the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 Pandemic to figure out how the two Nigeria national women’s football teams will honour their crucial two away FIFA Women’s World Cup African qualifier matches barely one month from now.
However, if Nigeria fails to honour the away matches for whatever reason, FIFA and CAF will apply the heavy fine and two-year ban from participating in the FIFA and CAF organized football competitions by all the national football teams of Nigeria including the Super Eagles and Super Falcons respectively.