Siasia’s U-23 Eagles know Olympic foes at 14 April draws

Samson Siasia-led U-23 Eagles will know their opponents in the men’s football tournament of Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the draws scheduled for 14 April at the iconic Maracana Stadium.

The draws for the women’s event will also hold at the same day. The finals of the men’s and women’s football events will take place on 19 and 20 August respectively.

FIFA said Tuesday that the Maracana stadium’s auditorium will see the groups drawn for Rio 2016’s men’s and women’s football tournaments, with the event scheduled to kick off at 10.30am local time (15.30 CET).

The 16 teams in the men’s tournament, including hosts Brazil and 2012 champions Mexico, will be drawn into four groups, and the 12 women’s teams, including the hosts and 2012 champions USA, will be drawn into three groups.

Just one spot remains in the men’s tournament, with Colombia and USA playing off in March to complete the line-up. In the women’s tournament, the final five teams to qualify will all be known by 9 March, 2016.

Apart from Rio de Janeiro, the home of the 2016 Olympic Games, the five other host cities for the football tournaments (Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo) are eagerly awaiting the draw to see who they will welcome to their regions.

Each of the co-host cities are keen to replicate the remarkable hospitality shown during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In the men’s event, Nigeria and Algeria booked their tickets to Rio with semi-final victories at Senegal 2015 CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations. South Africa won the play-off for third place and final Olympic spot from Africa.

Japan ​and ​Korea Republic claimed Asia’s first two tickets to Rio 2016 after reaching the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship final with ​Iraq ​joining them in Brazil after beating Qatar in the third place play-off.

The UEFA European U-21 Championship, was held in Czech Republic between 17 and 30 June 2015. Sweden won the tournament, with Denmark, Germany and Portugal joining the victors in Rio.

Mexico won the the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, with defeated finalists Honduras joining them in Rio. USA came third and will play-off against Colombia, the second placed team from CONMEBOL.

The Oceanic Football Confederation (OFC) Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Qualifying competition was the Pacific Games, played from 4 to 17 July 2015 in Papua New Guinea, with champions Fiji booking their ticket to Rio.

The South American U-20 Championship was played in Uruguay in January/February 2015. The winner of this championship, Argentina, qualified for Rio 2016. Colombia, in second place, will play-off against CONCACAF.

In the women’s category, Zimbabwe and South Africa will represent Africa at the at Rio 2016. Zimbabwe beat Cameroon to book their first trip to a global finals, while South Africa edged Equatorial Guinea to seal their second straight trip to the Olympics.

Asia Football Confederation’s Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament saw the first round played in March 2015, the second round in September 2015 and the third round will be played 29 February – 9 March 2016 in Osaka, Japan. The top two teams will qualify for the final tournament.

The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup served as Europe’s qualification for Rio 2016, with the top three teams progressing.

Germany and France qualified as the top ranked UEFA teams in Canada. The next four eligible teams – Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – will compete in a mini-tournament (2-9 March 2016) for the final berth.

New Zealand defeated Papua New Guinea, winner of the 2015 Pacific Games, in a play-off in January 2016 to become Oceania’s representative at Rio 2016.

The Women’s Copa America formed the basis of the qualifying competition, and was played in August and September 2014. Colombia, runners up behind Brazil, qualified for Rio 2016.

Two traditional regional powerhouses of women’s football, USA and Canada, qualified with relative ease for the 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Rio de Janeiro after finishing first and second respectively at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Texas.

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