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Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets get simpler FIFA U17 World Cup qualification path

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will get a simpler qualifying path for the next FIFA U17 World Cup following increased slots for Africa.

Nigeria did not qualify for the last edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup having failed to make the quota in Africa.

FIFA have announced improvements to the FIFA U17 World Cup with a substantial increase in slots allocation, marking a significant milestone for youth football development.

The last edition was contested by 24 teams and now FIFA have announced that the upcoming tournament will feature 48 teams, doubling the participation and providing more opportunities for young talents worldwide.

In the 2023 edition hosted by Indonesia, Africa was represented by four teams: Morocco, Mali, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. However, FIFA have confirmed that Africa will see a notable increase in representation, with 10 teams set to compete in the 2025 edition.

Africa boasts the most titles in the FIFA U17 World Cup, with Nigeria clinching the title five times (1985, 1993, 2007, 2013, 2015) and Ghana securing victory twice (1991, 1995), a testament of the continent’s football prowess at the youth level.

The allocation of slots has also been enhanced across all continents, with Asia receiving 9 slots, CONCACAF 8 slots, South America 7 slots, Oceania 3 slots, and Europe leading with 11 slots.

FIFA’s decision aims to provide young talents with greater exposure and opportunities at an early stage, prompting the transition of the tournament from a biennial event to an annual one.

The defending champions, Germany, claimed victory in the 2023 edition by defeating France 4-3 on penalties following a thrilling 2-2 draw in regular time.

The upcoming 20th edition of the FIFA U17 World Cup will be hosted in Qatar, marking the beginning of a new era as Qatar will also host the subsequent five editions annually from 2025 to 2029.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s journey to the next FIFA U-17 World Cup begins with their participation at the 2024 WAFU B Championship in Ghana.

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