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Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

Africa Games: Falconets’ Group reduced to 3 teams

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By Amaechi Agbo

In a major twist of event at the ongoing 2019 Africa Games football event, Nigeria’s U-20 Female team’s Group has been reduced to there from the initial 4 teams, can report.
The Falconets are drawn in Group B along with Cameroon, South Africa and Cameroon but the group has been reduced to three teams only after Zamibia was evicted from the completion after failing to honour her first group match.
The Zambia’ U-20 Women’s national team won’t take part at this year’s football event in Rabat, Morocco after the Football Association of Zambia ,FAZ failed to secure air tickets for the team due to financial issues.
The runner-up of the COSAFA junior women’s football tournament were scheduled to face Cameroon during the opening fixture on Saturday.
Appeals to the Confederation of African Football, CAF to reschedule the game against Cameroon was futile and sanctions seem almost inevitable.
Cameroon will therefore face only Nigeria and South Africa in a group of three and the best two nations will automatically qualify for the knock out phase.
Falconets won South Africa 3-0 on Saturday to boost their chances of reaching the knockout stage.
Meanwhile, Nigeria U-20 women’s head coach Christopher Danjuma has charged his side to claim the coveted gold medal at the 2019 African Games in Morocco.
The Falconets, who played four friendlies matches and won three in their build-up to the women’s youth championship to be held from August 17-29, landed in Casablanca on Thursday.
To excel, the West African nation, who are aiming to reclaim the continental crown, will have to negotiate past South Africa, Cameroon and Zambia in Group A.
And the coach, who led the team to a quarterfinal place at the U20 Women’s World Cup in France last year, assured they will not disappoint in the North African nation.
“We’ve had a very good preparatory period because the camping was happening while the women’s league started,” Danjuma told Goal.
“So the players were permitted to go week in week out to play for their respective teams which put them in match mood and anytime they are back we take time to build cohesion.
“We are more focused and determined, knowing that to get past these teams we must be at the top of our game all through the group stage.
“South Africa is a team we always respect any time we meet them. Our strategy is going to play a team that just played at the Cosafa Cup and for us to progress, we have to make sure that we win our first game.
“We’ve spoken to our players that this is the first edition featuring age-grade teams and asked to go and write your name in gold.
“We are also going to help Nigeria’s chances of finishing top on the medals table.”
They failed to win a medal at the African Games in Brazzaville four years ago when they finished fourth under Danjuma’s watch.
The coach, who is making a back-to-back African Games outings, insists he is under no pressure, setting his sights on making a podium success.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to discover new talents and also give hopes that there is a future for the senior team,” Danjuma, who led Nasarawa Amazons to 2019 Federation Cup success continued.
“We had five players from the last U20 Women’s World Cup already moved abroad – two in Sweden, two in Spain and one in Norway. Three of them impressed at the senior World Cup.
“My ambition is to always groom players, bring the best out of them and discovering top talents. That’s my gifting. I expect a new set of players to be seen and I believe people will appreciate them.
“I’m not burdened at all nor under any pressure. The only thing for me is to be my self and remain at my best to make Nigeria proud in Morocco.”
The two-time U20 Women’s World Cup finalists will be eager to begin their campaign for glory against South Africa on Saturday in Rabat.

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