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U20 Women's World Cup Qualification Africa

U20 WWC Qualifiers: Nigeria qualify for fourth round after Congo withdrawal

08:11 WAT 12/12/2021
Nigeria fans
Christopher Danjuma’s girls are moving closer towards qualifying for the global football showpiece billed for Costa Rica

Nigeria are through to the fourth round of the 2022 Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup qualifier following Congo’s withdrawal on Saturday.

Goals from Mercy Idoko, Flourish Sebastine, Esther Onyenezide and Deborah Ajibola had helped the Falconets silence the Congolese 4-0 at the Stade Alphonse Massamba Debat in Brazzaville.

With Christopher Danjuma’s girls preparing for the third round, second leg qualifier billed for the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on December 17, news emanated that the Central Africans pulled out due to ‘travel challenges’.

“Congo Football Association (Fecofoot) have withdrawn their national team from Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers,” a statement from Caf website read.

“After Nigeria's 4-0 victory against Congo in Brazzaville, the return leg was scheduled for 17 December 2021 in Lagos.

“In a correspondence to Caf, Fecofoot expressed the inability of Congo to take part in the next match due to travel challenges.

“Therefore, the match is cancelled, and Nigeria automatically qualified for the next round.”

With this development, Nigeria will now square up against Cameroon who walked over Gabon over two legs. Winners over two legs will qualify for the fifth round where Africa’s representatives would be determined.

Just two teams will represent Africa at the global football showpiece slated for August 10–28, 2022 in Costa Rica.

Cameroon would be hoping to make their debut appearance in the tournament after failed expeditions in previous attempts.

Since the start of the competition in Canada 2002, the Falconets have participated in all editions of the Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup.

Their best performance being a second-place finish at the 2010 and 2014 editions, staged in Germany and Canada, respectively.

In 2012, they returned home as the fourth-best team having bowed 2-1 to hosts Japan with Yoko Tanaka and Asuka Nishikawa scoring the goals for the Asians at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

The tournament was initially billed for Costa Rica in 2021, however, it was cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19 which crippled football-related activities globally.

Japan are the reigning world champions. They defeated Spain 3-1 in the final of the 2018 edition played at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes.