The 12 participating teams have learned what hurdles await them following the draw for the Youth Olympic Football Tournaments Nanjing 2014 which took place on Wednesday at the Hilton Hotel, Nanjing, China PR. With Bolivia and Chile inaugural winners at the boys and girls' competitions respectively at Singapore 2010, the 2014 participants can now fix their focus towards winning the second edition.
The draw of the Girls' Youth Olympic Football Tournament has set-up some enticing match-ups, with Papua New Guinea, who featured in the inaugural competition, pitted against debutants Venezuela and Slovakia in Group A. Despite receiving the wooden spoon four years ago, they will look to their experiences to mount a challenge for the championship this time around.
China coach Lu Yiliang spoke with confidence following the draw. “At this age level the opponents are very much unfamiliar and unpredictable,” the China coach told FIFA.com from his training camp at Weifang, Shandong of China. Both Mexico and Namibia are unfamiliar rivals so what we will do from now on is to work hard in self-improvement. Our initial goal is to progress from the group and after that we will do our best to win the tournament.”
Global encore for Vanuatu
Also enjoying their second global appearance will be Vanuatu, who have been drawn together with Cape Verde Islands and Korea Republic in Group D of the boys' competition. Having finished fifth at Singapore 2010, they will be keen to showcase what progress they have made this time around. However, they will be wary of Korea Republic, who have been among Asia's most successful countries at youth level.
The other section of the boys' competition features Honduras, Iceland and Peru. Having seen Bolivia prevail at the boys' competition at Singapore 2010, Peru will be hoping their side can retain the title on behalf of their fellow South Americans.
As in the previous edition, the football competitions are the first sports to kick off in the Youth Olympic Games, with the girls' tournament commencing on 14 August, two days prior to the opening ceremony, and lasting 12 days until 26 August. The boys' competition runs from 15-27 August.