African women’s football giant Nigeria will welcome the original FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy as the train makes its way to the Federal Capital, Abuja on Sunday.
The Trophy has already left FIFA’s headquarters and been to several countries, and will arrive in Nigeria, one of only seven countries to have taken part in every edition of the competition, on Saturday evening. The Trophy will make its way to all the 32 countries taking part in this year’s finals, with Nigeria being the ninth stop on the game-changing global tour.
Since world football’s governing body, FIFA, launched the women’s flagship tournament 32 years ago, only Nigeria, USA, Norway, Germany, Brazil, Japan and Sweden have played in every edition. All seven nations will again be on display at the ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup finals to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 20th July to 20th August this year.
The one-month championship Down Under will be the biggest in the history of the competition, as it welcomes 32 teams – the same number as featured in the men’s World Cup in Qatar late last year.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup was launched as a 12-team tournament in China in 1991, and stayed on that number for the championship in Sweden in 1995. It became a 16-nation tournament in the USA in 1999 and 2003 and was also the same number for China in 2007 and Germany in 2011. It became a 24-team tournament in Canada in 2015 and remained that way at the last competition in France in 2019.
Only four countries have won the glittering trophy: USA, Germany, Norway and Japan. USA have been victorious on four occasions and Germany have lifted it twice. Japan and Norway were champions once each.
Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco and Zambia will fly Africa’s flag in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, with nine-time African champions Nigeria already slotted into Group B which will also feature co-hosts Australia, Republic of Ireland and Canada.
The Super Falcons will play their first match at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup against Canada at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Friday, 21 July 2023.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy will be on display at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja from 12 noon on Sunday, with a photo session planned for a number of invited guests.
Before the display, the FIFA team will pay a courtesy visit to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare in his office at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium.