North Korea and newcomers Niger face off in the FIFA U-17 World Cup group D encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. This will be the clash of the underdogs as both teams will try to make the most of this match as the other contenders in the group are heavyweights Spain and Brazil who are favorites to go through.
North Korea is not new to the competition and this will be their fifth appearance. Niger, on the other hand, has nothing to lose in their first appearance at the world stage. But Niger will go all out to win this and have stated that winning the competition is their dream.
The African Side Makes their debut in the FIFA U-17 World Cup
Niger made their way to India following a semi-final finish at the U17 AFCON Championship. They have had preparatory camps in Algeria and Morocco. North Korea qualified by reaching the Semi-Finals of AFC U16 championship held in Goa last year. But all wasn’t good for them as their goalkeeper Jang Paek-Ho and former head coach Yun Jong-Su were slapped with a year long bans after being guilty of deliberately conceding goals to avoid stronger opposition.
The appointment of the new head coach wasn’t confirmed until the press conference due to the restrictions imposed on appearing in front of Media.
North Korea captain Kim Pom Hyok will be the one to watch in today’s match.A box to Box midfielder, he can change from attack to defense and vice versa in quick time.
“Needless to say, it is a pleasure to take part in such an important competition. It is our very first World Cup in any category. It is a great honor for our football and sport in general.” Said the Niger coach, Somalia Tiemogo
Results at 2017 Africa U-17: Dw 2-2 V Angola; lost 1-2 to Mali; bt Tanzania 1-0; dw 0-0 V Ghana (lost 5-6 on penalties); lost 1-3 to Guinea.