By Lexi Elo
Nigeria is billed to face hosts Chile, Croatia and USA in Group A of the preliminary round of the FIFA World U17 Championship in Chile. The Golden Eaglets placed fourth at this year’s African U17 Championship in Niger Republic to qualify for the tournament where they will be hoping to defend the crown they won two years back in the United Arab Emirates.
The draw ceremony took place Thursday night at the theater of the Centro de las Artes 660 in Santiago de Chile, Chile. The event was greeted with great fanfare that entertained the crème de la crème of world football – plus Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
Then it was time for a little music as Chilean singer-songwriter DJ Mendez, the man behind the tournament’s Official Song, took centre stage with the Brochico, the Official Mascot, to entertain the audience with his catchy tune.
Hosts New Zealand were zoned in Group A against Croatia, Nigeria and the United States of America. African U17 winners, Mali will battle with Belgium, Honduras and Ecuador in Group D. Last edition’s runners-up Mexico will slug it out against Argentina, Germany and Australia in Group C.
Elsewhere, South Africa, who finished second at the African U17 Championship will try North Korea, Costa Rica and Russia for size in Group E.
The Golden Eaglets will face the United States U17 in the opening match of the competition on October 17, 2016 at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Santiago.
2015 FIFA WORLD U17 CHAMPIONSHIP IN FULL
Group A (Santiago, Vina del Mar, Coquimbo): Chile, Croatia, Nigeria, USA
Group B (La Serena, Coquimbo, Vina del Mar): England, Guinea, Brazil, Korea Republic
Group C (Chillan, Talca): Australia, Germany, Mexico, Argentina
Group D (Talca, Chillan): Belgium, Mali, Honduras, Ecuador
Group E (Concepcion, Puerto Montt): South Africa, Costa Rica, Korea DPR, Russia
Group F (Puerto Montt, Concepcion): New Zealand, France, Syria, Paraguay