African champions Nigeria will play China in the Four-Nation China Tournament on Thursday (today), as part of preparations for the France 2018 Women’s World Cup.
Korea Republic and Romania, the other participating teams, will clash in the tournament’s opening match, from 3pm China time (8am Nigeria time), before the Super Falcons and the Steel Roses take to the pitch at Huitang Stadium at 7.35pm (China time), which is 12.35pm in Nigeria.
On Wednesday, between 4pm and 5pm China time (9am and 10am in Nigeria), the Falcons attended their first training at the Wu Hua Olympic Sports Centre of the Huitang Stadium.
Sweden-based defender Faith Michael and midfielder Rita Chikwelu, as well as England-based forward Ini-Abasi Umotong and Portugal-based Chinaza Uchendu joined the team in Meizhou City, from Europe.
China’s Steel Roses are among the most respected teams in women football and will certainly afford the nine-time African champions a good match.
Falcons are one of only seven teams to have qualified for every edition of the Women’s World Cup since the competition began in China in 1991. The others are the US, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Japan.
The winners of Thursday’s encounter will clash with the winners of the Korea Republic/Romania fixture in Sunday’s final, slated to kick off at 7.35pm China time (12.35pm Nigeria time). The losers play the third-place match from 3pm China time (8am Nigeria time) also on Sunday, and at the Huitang Stadium.
Should the Falcons prevail over the Steel Roses and the Koreans subdue the Romanians, Sunday’s final would be an interesting preview of the World Cup Group A clash between Nigeria and Korea Republic, scheduled for Grenoble on June 12.