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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 14:55 UK

Difficult task for Super Falcons

Cynthia Uwak
Uwak was on target for Nigeria at last year's World Cup
Nigeria are an improving team, but being drawn in the "group of death" leaves them with little chance of progressing beyond the first round of the women's tournament at the Beijing Olympics.

The Super Falcons are drawn against world champions Germany, 2004 Olympic silver medallists Brazil, and North Korea.

North Korea were in the same group as Nigeria at last year's World Cup, where they handed the Super Falcons a 2-0 defeat.

The seven-time African champions made a promising start to that campaign, with Cynthia Uwak scoring in a 1-1 draw with Sweden, but two subsequent defeats left them bottom of their group.

Although Nigeria lost all three games at the 2000 Olympics, they reached the quarter-finals in 2004, losing 2-1 to Germany.

The women's tournament features all the world's top players, because unlike the men's competition there are no age restrictions.

Perpetua Nkwocha
Nkwocha believes that Nigeria can spring a surprise

That means that Nigeria will face Brazil's outstanding striker Marta Vieira da Silva, the Fifa World Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

Da Silva was also the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe winner in last year's World Cup where Brazil were beaten 2-0 by Germany in the final.

Brazil only qualified for this tournament by beating Ghana in a play-off.

World Cup champions Germany will be searching for the one major football crown that has eluded them.

They have a highly-experienced squad of 16 players all from the victorious team who defended the World Cup title in China last year.

But 2004 and 2005 African Female Footballer of the Year Perpetua Nkwocha remains optimistic.

"I'm not afraid, neither are my colleagues. We are used to being in the toughest groups at the World Cup," she said.

As the only team to have won the African Women's Championship, the Super Falcons have the challenge of making their mark on the global stage.

Twelve teams are taking part in the Olympic tournament, with the sides drawn into three groups of four.

see also
World Cup over for Super Falcons
18 Sep 07 |  African
Nkwocha sets retirement date
28 Jun 08 |  African

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