Nigeria’s female youth national team, Falconets will play two friendlies during their training camp in Austria, before their trip to France on August 2nd for participation in this year’s FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup.
This much was disclosed by head of delegation, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) assistant director (technical), Siji Lagunju, after the team touched down in the Austrian city of Tirol.
The ex-international disclosed that all the players and their coaches are in high spirits, as they commence for a final training camp ahead of the 9th FIFA U20 Women’s Mundial next month.
The contingent of 25 players and 11 officials, including Falconets head coach, Chris Danjuma as well as his assistants, Wemimo Mathew, Mansur Abdullahi, Lateef Yusuf and Precious Dede, departed from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Friday night.
The team transited through Paris, France and Munich, Germany before arriving in Tirol, from where they moved to the camp site.
The four host cities for the 9th U20 Women’s World Cup are located in the Brittany region: Concarneau, Dinan/Léhon, Saint-Malo and Vannes.
The Stade de la Rabine in Vannes will host the opening match on 5th August as well as the final match of the competition on 24th August.
Nigeria will battle Haiti, China and Germany in Group D of the 16 –nation finals, while Africa’s other flagbearer Ghana must negotiate a tough Group A against host France, New Zealand and The Netherlands.
Group B has North Korea, England, Mexico and Brazil while USA, Japan, Paraguay and Spain fight things out in Group D.
The Falconets’ opening match is against their perennial foes Germany (who beat Nigeria in the 2010 and 2014 final matches) at Stade de Marville in Saint-Malo on Monday, 6th August, after which they clash with Haiti at same venue on Thursday, 9th August and China in Dinan/Léhon’s Stade de Clos Gastel on Monday, 13th August.
To qualify for the finals, the Falconets dismissed Tanzania’s U20 girls 9-0 aggregate, brushed aside Morocco 6-2 on aggregate and whiplashed their South African counterparts 8-0 over two legs in January this year.
The U20 girls remain Nigeria’s most successful women’s team at global level, winning silver at the FIFA World Cup twice (Germany 2010 and Canada 2014) and bronze once (Japan 2012), and reaching the quarter finals in Thailand (2004), Russia (2006) and Chile (2008).
The 25 players in camp include four goalkeepers – Mercy Vincent, Onyinyechukwu Okeke, Rita Akarekor and Chiamaka Nnadozie; as well as seven defenders – Glory Ogbonna, Opeyemi Sunday, Lilian Tule, Mary Ologbosere, Joy Duru, Blessing Ezekiel and Oluwakemi Famuditi.
Also listed are six midfielders – Christy Ucheibe, Bashirat Amoo, Peace Efih, Adebisi Saheed, Mary Saiki and Kikelomo Odueke; as well as eight forwards – Rasheedat Ajibade, Anam Imo, Joy Jerry, Chidinma Okeke, Charity Reuben, Aishat Bello, Gift Monday, Grace Igboamalu
Lagunju said the 2010 and 2014 runners-up will spend 12 days at Explorer Hotel, after which the final list of 21 players will emerge and four that fail to make the cut will fly back to Nigeria.
“The Falconets are scheduled to play two friendly matches during the training camp. These are against FC Bergheim Austria and Wacker Innsbruck FC Austria.
“The delegation will depart Austria for France on 2nd August ahead of the finals starting on Sunday, 5th August,” Lagunju expatiated.