The Nigeria U17 team, the Golden Eaglets, have successfully defended their FIFA U17 World Cup title after recording a 2-0 victory over their West African foes, Mali, in the early hours of Monday.
After a largely even first half contest in which Nigeria missed a penalty inside the first four minutes, Golden Eaglets gangling striker, Victor Osimhen, broke the deadlock in the 56th minute; and three minutes later Nigeria were two goals up as Funsho Bamgboye increased the tally.
The sumptuous goal by Osimhen was his 10th goal of the tournament which makes him the record holder of the most goals scored by an individual at one single FIFA U17 World Cup tournament.
The Golden Eaglets before the Mali clash had recorded good results at the Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar where they crushed Chile 5-1 in their second group phase match, annihilated Australia 6-0 in the second round, and battered Brazil 3-0 in the quarter final.
The venue proved a lucky ground as Nigeria triumphed over Mali albeit after early scares.
The successful defence recorded by Nigeria makes them only the second country after Brazil to record back-to-back wins in the cadet World Cup.
Before this latest addition to their accolades, the Golden Eaglets’ previous four titles came when they defeated then West Germany, 2-0, in the inaugural final in Beijing in 1985; overran West African rivals, Ghana, 2-1 in 1993 in Tokyo, Japan; outshot Mexico on penalties in Seoul in 2007 and thrashed Mexico 3-0 in the last Championship match in Abu Dhabi.
The victorious Eaglets will be hoping for a warm embrace from President Buhari who was in charge when Nigeria won the first edition of FIFA U16 World Cup in China.
It was the then General that christened the U17 team, Golden Eaglets.
Apart from winning the World Cup, the Nigerian boys also won in most of the individual award categories. Osimhen won the golden boot as highest goal scorer while Kelechi Nwakali was voted best player of the tournament (MVP) as well as winning the bronze boot as third highest goal scorer of the competition. Osimhen also won the silver ball as the second best player of the tournament.
Individual award winners
Sami Diarra Mali goal keeper voted best Golden glove
Victor Oshimen Golden boot (highest goal scorer)
Kelechi Nwakali Bronze boot
Ally Malle, Mali Bronze Ball
Victor Osimhen Silver Ball
Kelechi Nwakali Golden Ball (MVP)
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