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FIFA tips Nigeria/Germany tie to light up U-17 World Cup

By Patrick Omorodion

The Federation of International Football Federations (FIFA) has listed four matches which it described as “intriguing fixtures” in the group stage of the Under-17 World Cup scheduled for eight Nigerian cities in October as ones football lovers should look forward to.


And one of them, no doubt, is the opening cracker between host, the Golden Eaglets who are the reigning champions of the competition and Germany.

FIFA states on its website that the draw which pitched the Eaglets against Germany in Group A “did not smile kindly on the hosts as the Golden Eaglets will also have to face Argentina and Honduras in their section.”
According to FIFA, the draws “set up some fantastic encounters, filling the group stage with a number of intriguing fixtures, not least the opening match between Nigeria and Germany.

CAN THIS BOBO PLAY? . . FIFA Vice President Jack Warner (R) with the FIFA U-17 World Cup admiring the Championship Mascot, Bobo (L), during the championship draw at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, while Nigeria’s Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (M) also watches with admiration. Photo:  Sylva Eleanya.
CAN THIS BOBO PLAY? . . FIFA Vice President Jack Warner (R) with the FIFA U-17 World Cup admiring the Championship Mascot, Bobo (L), during the championship draw at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, while Nigeria’s Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (M) also watches with admiration. Photo: Sylva Eleanya.

Other encounters FIFA expects to be thrilling and “sure to light up the group stage, (are) the games between Brazil and Japan, Spain and USA, and Uruguay and Italy (which) look just as likely to produce fireworks.”

It added that “if suspense was the order of the day in the run-up to the draw, that has now given way to expectation. So roll on 24 October and the start of what looks certain to be a superb festival of football”.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan admitted to feeling honoured to see his country host such an important tournament as he thanked “FIFA for having believed in us and having made this project a reality.” he said.
On his part, the Sports Minister/Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Engineer Sani Ndanusa, promised that, “As with this draw, Nigeria is ready to do its best to make this tournament a peaceful event and something that will leave a legacy for the whole country in terms of development and sport.”

The draw  was conducted by FIFA Director of Competitions, Jim Brown, who was assisted by some great Nigerian players like Mercy Akide, the first African to be named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, in 2002, who appeared in three FIFA Women’s World Cups as well as  Victor Ikpeba, Tijjani Babangida, Samson Siasia and goalkeeper Peter Rufa, who spurred the Super Eagles on to some of their greatest moments, including  Nduka Ugbade, who captained the Nigerian side that won the very first FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1985.


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