The Nigeria Football Federation says it is keeping good focus on the several competitions in which the various National Teams are participating this year, beginning with the trio of FIFA U20 World Cup, FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations that are in full swing between this week and next month.
On Thursday, the FIFA U20 World Cup finals, in which Nigeria’s U20 squad is one of the 24 participating teams, will kick off in Poland. The Flying Eagles, who spent three weeks at a final training camp in Germany, will open their account, against Qatar, on Friday.
African champions, Super Falcons, arrived at the Avita Resort, Bad Tatzmannsdorf in Austria on Tuesday, for a two-week residential camping leading to their departure for the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France, starting on 7th June. The Falcons will play Norway in Reims on Saturday, 8th June in their first match of the championship.
On Sunday, 2nd June, the Super Eagles will begin to gather in Asaba as they begin preparations for the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Egypt 21st June – 19th July.
“We are very focused and not distracted by anything. The well-being of these teams, as well as their adequate preparation to go to their different championships and do the country proud, is of utmost concern to us and that is what is receiving our full concentration, not anything else.
“Football is a global unifying force, and even in our country we know the importance of the performance of these teams and how almost every Nigerian at home and in the diaspora are looking forward to the matches. Nothing else matters,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi said on Wednesday.
While the Flying Eagles qualified for the U20 World Cup after reaching the semi-finals of the U20 AFCON in Niger Republic in February, the Super Falcons made sure of a ticket to France after winning their ninth Women AFCON title in Ghana in December 2018.
The Super Eagles, just as they did in the race to the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, earned a ticket to this year’s AFCON finals with a match to spare in the qualifying race.
“There are many more competitions this year, even after the U20 World Cup, FIFA Women’s World Cup and the AFCON. We are also focusing on them and will do everything necessary to prepare our different teams for glory.”
Nigeria is one of the eight teams that has qualified for this year’s Women’s Football Tournament of the 12th All-Africa Games, coming up in Rabat, Morocco between late August and early September.
Around the same period, the Super Eagles B will be engaged in the qualifying campaign for the 2020 African Nations Championship – the tournament for senior players plying their trade in their country’s domestic league. Nigeria finished as runners-up in the fifth edition of the championship in Morocco early last year.
The Eagles B are also scheduled to take part in the WAFU Cup competition (in which they finished as runners-up in the last edition in Ghana in September 2017). The draw for this year’s championship will hold in Dakar next week Wednesday.
The U23 National Men Team, having defeated Libya in the second round of the race to the 2019 U23 AFCON (for which Nigeria is the defending champion), will take on Sudan in the last hurdle in September. The finals will hold in Egypt in November 2019.
The U17 National Boys Team, Golden Eaglets, will take part in the FIFA U17 World Cup finals in Brazil in November, having qualified from the U17 AFCON held in Tanzania in April this year.
The Beach Soccer team, Supersand Eagles, will feature in this year’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay in November, having finished second at the Beach Soccer AFCON in Egypt in December 2018 to emerge as one of Africa’s two flag bearers.
Yet, the Super Eagles will kick-start their race to the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this year, while the U20 and U17 girls will also begin their race to their different FIFA World Cup competitions in 2020.
This year is, indeed, the busiest ever for all National Teams in the history of Nigerian Football.