Officials of world football governing body, FIFA on Wednesday formally welcomed Nigeria’s female national team, Super Falcons to France, for the 8th Women’s World Cup, which starts this Friday in Paris.
The Falcons were received with pomp and pageantry, which included choreography displays by kids, as the Nigerian delegation landed at Aeroport Charles de Gaulle just before 5pm on Tuesday, but the formal welcome by FIFA held the following day.
The Falcons, who open their campaign against Norway in Group A on Saturday, before also playing South Korea and France in their first round games, will aim to better their best performance till date, which was a quarter final finish at the third edition, USA 1999, now 20 years ago.
Heading into France 2019, the Falcons are one of only seven teams to have appeared in every edition of the women’s championship, since it was launched in 1991 in China, with the others being Germany, Norway, Brazil, USA, Sweden and Japan.
The nine-time African champions open their campaign against Norway this Saturday against Norway at Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims, after which they will tackle Korea Republic at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble on 12th June, before ending their first round spree against the hosts nation, France at Roazhon Park in Rennes on 17th June, all ahead of which the Falcons were feted by FIFA officials at their hotel.
In the formal session at Hotel Mercure Reims Centre Cathedral, Falcons’ players, coaches and officials performed the ‘Welcome Ritual’ and they were taken through rules of the game by a FIFA official, Sandra Hunt.
The second session, which was about the dangers of doping, was guided by Dr. Rheema Alhosani, who took some time out to deliver the lecture during the Nigerian team’s first training session in Reims.
The session will put the Nigerian delegation into the right frame of the competition, which begins on Friday with a clash between France and Korea at Parc des Princes in Paris, after which other group matches and more in the competition will take place in Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes.