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Nigeria set for Chinese test

The 2014 FIFA Under-17  Women’s World Cup  kicks off on Saturday with hosts  Costa Rica taking on Venezuela  in the tournament’s opening game in San Jose.

 The opening encounter will be followed by another Group A clash between Italy and  Zambia  at the same venue.

Also on Saturday, Ghana host   South Korea in a Group B fixture in Liberia, Guanacaste province, with Germany facing Canada in the other group game.

Nigeria will open their account  on Sunday against China in a Group D fixture in Alajuela. The game will come after  the opening group clash between Mexico  and Colombia at the same venue.

The Nigerian team – the Flamingoes –   will also play Mexico (March 19) and Columbia (March 23) in the group.

Nigeria  qualified for the competition without playing a single match,  because their opponents withdrew from the qualifiers.

The Flamingoes, who reached the quarterfinals of  Trinidad & Tobago 2010   and Azerbaijan 2012,  will look to land in the semifinals this time around.

Coach Bala Nkiyu said before the team travelled to Costa Rica for the fourth edition of the cadet championship that said his charges were ready for the challenge.

“I will not predict how we will finish because you have to respect your opponents, but I am sure we will have a good team,” Nkiyu was quoted as saying by FIFA.com.

“Nigerian women’s football has traditionally been very strong in Africa, and we are challenging globally at youth level. With good preparations, we will be a force to be reckoned with in Costa Rica.”

South Korea won the maiden  edition of the competition in New Zealand in 2008. The Koreans defended their title in Trinidad & Tobago in 2010, while France won the last edition in Azerbaijan.

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