Photo: Falconets on arrival in Costa Rica.
Coach Chris Danjuma believes that his Nigeria U20 girls have the strength, the savvy and the right spirit to cause a stir at the 9th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup taking place in Costa Rica, 10th – 28thAugust.
The Falconets arrived in the Costa Rican capital, San Jose on Saturday morningafter travelling through Istanbul (Turkey) and Bogota (Colombia).
“We are finally here, and we are happy to be here at the FIFA World Cup. The World Cup is always an interesting experience for the coaches and the players, and I am sure it is the same for other professionals who get to be involved.
“We took a long route to get here, having to play four different teams in the qualifying series. I can tell you that we are prepared to do Nigeria and Africa proud. It is not about being here to make up the number; it is about being here to make an impact.”
The two-time runners-up are ensconced in the Intercontinental Hotel in San Jose, and already had two training sessions, on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, the Falconets made use of the San Rafael Stadium for one hour, to knock off the jet lag, and then utilized the same facility for two hours on Sunday morning.
Organizers have scheduled Africa’s top team to train at the Alajuela Stadium on Monday, and at the Stadio Piedades Santa Ana on Tuesday morning.
The competition starts on Wednesday, with the Falconets set to play their first match against France at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose as from 5pm Costa Rica time (12 midnight Nigeria time) on Thursday.
Nigeria’s other group phase matches are against Korea Republic, as from 2pmCosta Rica time (9pm Nigeria time) on Sunday, 14th August and against Canada, as from 8pm Costa Rica time on Wednesday, 17th August (3am Nigeria time on Thursday, 18th August). Both matches will hold at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium.
Africa’s other flagbearers Ghana are up against Cup holders Japan, The Netherlands and three –time champions United States of America in Group D.