NZ Football have announced a second friendly game for the Football Ferns in next month’s international window with a fixture against Nigeria on Wednesday April 12 (NZT).
Nigeria, rated 45th in the FIFA women’s world rankings, are preparing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup where they’ll face Australia, Canada and Republic of Ireland in their group.
NZ Football have also confirmed the Ferns will play 19th-ranked Iceland on Easter Saturday (NZT).
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Both games will be played at Mardan Sports Complex, Antalya, Turkey, kicking off at 1am (NZT).
The confirmation of the Nigeria games means that the Ferns will have faced a side from every FIFA confederation outside of Oceania in preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Nigeria have played three games in 2023, beating Colombia 1-0 and losing 1-0 to Mexico and to Costa Rica by the same score. The three games were part of the Women’s Revelations Cup tournament held in Mexico in February.
Klimková: ‘Good opportunities to test our progress’
The two international friendlies mark the last overseas fixtures the Ferns will play before the World Cup tournament, with the extended squad set to start assembling in New Zealand from late May to begin a two-month pre-camp and warm-up matches before the tournament.
Ford Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková said:
“These are two good sides and a great test for us going into the tournament.
“We played Iceland just over a year ago, so this game presents a good opportunity to see how we have been progressing.
“We were also keen to face an African side so that we have challenged ourselves against every other confederation, and Nigeria are the perfect opponent.
“As a team, we were disappointed with the results against Portugal and Argentina, so I know everyone is keen to get back on the pitch to show what we can do.”
The Ford Football Ferns squad for the tour will be named on Tuesday March 28.
Game to be played on Saturday April 8, 1am (NZT)
New Zealand v Iceland
Game to be played on Wednesday April 12, 1am (NZT)
New Zealand v Nigeria