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India 2022: Black Maidens and 3 others eye fourth round spots

By Vincent Ashitey
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The Black Maidens of Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa will continue their hot chase for tickets to the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in the third qualifying round this weekend.

South Africa will face Ethiopia, Zambia host Cameroon, Tanzania visit Burundi as Niger welcome Morocco, and Guinea entertain Ghana while Nigeria are home to Egypt in the third round, first leg scheduled to take place this weekend of April 15-17.

South Africa V Ethiopia

Bantwana are eyeing their fourth World Cup berth but must avoid a third round upset in a first ever meeting in the competition against the East Africans, who pipped Uganda on away goals rule at Bidvest Stadium. After walking over suspended Kenya, head Coach Simphiwe Dludlu is confident her side can edge the Ethiopians, who are seeking a first ever qualification. “We are hoping to spend the rest of the week concentrating on how we will approach the match against Ethiopia," she said. "We have done all the theory at the weekend through our video sessions, but we need to put all the theories into practice on the pitch.”

READ ALSO: FIFA announce date for U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022 draw

Zambia V Cameroon

The young Copper Queens will seek to upstage ambitious baby Lionesses in the coveted hunt for an India 2022 slot after both progressed following Eritrea and Namibia withdrawals. The Zambians aim for a return after a long absence since their maiden appearance in 2014, while the Cameroonians are hoping to earn a third consecutive ticket. Zambia's head coach Kaluba Kangwa promises his side will leave nothing to chance against the Central Africans at Nkoloma Stadium. "We have managed to shape up the girls and try to give them the information in terms of what we expect and what we want to do against Cameroon," he said. "Remember that Cameroon is not an easy team, this is a strong team and the game would be very good and tactical. We are sure we are going to make our nation proud."

Burundi V Tanzania

An East African derby is on the schedule as Burundians welcome the Tanzanite in the first leg battle for a fourth-round place on Saturday. Both nations met in the third round of the U20 women's African qualifiers, with Tanzania advancing via a 4-3 win on aggregate. This time, Burundi, who walked over Djibouti, will seek to avoid a first leg shock at Stade Urukundo, while the 2020 Cosafa U17 Women's Cup winners will be hoping for a big lead to extend their dominance.

Guinea V Ghana

After easing past Liberia, 9-3 on aggregate, Guinea has been rewarded with a third-round date with Ghana. The Guineans are in search of their maiden appearance on the global stage but must pull off an upset against the Black Maidens, who are chasing an African record seventh campaign. Ahead of Saturday's showdown at General Lansana Conté stadium, Ghana coach Baba Nuhu said: "These days, women's football is played everywhere and you cannot underrate any team. We will work hard to improve on our missed chances and get things right."

Nigeria V Egypt

After the Uruguay 2018 miss, the Flamingos would be inching to make a return to the World Cup when they welcome the baby lady Pharaohs in Abuja on Sunday. After seeing off DR Congo 8-0 aggregate win, five-time World Cup finalists, Nigeria will look to earn a massive lead at home against the North Africans, who walked over Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria coach Bankole Olowookere is upbeat his side would put up a fine display on home ground.

"We have been training so hard and that's why we played U-15 boys so that we can be able to work on their strength and I think what they have done so far is encouraging and we are almost getting there, as we progress," the Naija Ratels coach said.