Nigeria’s U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets have been handed a lifeline at the ongoing WAFU U17 Cup Tournament ongoing in Lome, Togo.
Against all odds, the coach Fatai Amoo tutored booked a place in the semi-final after Group B pacesetters Cote d’Ivoire hammered the Black Starlets of Ghana 3-1 at the city’s Stade Municipal.
Having lost their first game against Ivorians and managing just a draw against Ghana, the Eaglets looked destined for an early exit from the regional tournament cum qualifiers.
The Eaglets needed a favour from the Ivorians to progress to the knockout stage. And the Ivorians obliged.
The Baby Elephants raced into the lead after only nine minutes and consolidated at 2-0 as the match wore on. But the Starlets, themselves two-time champions of the world, pegged back their neighbours to leave Nigeria’s chances on the wire.
The Eaglets and their Ghanaian counterparts had both scored through penalty kicks on Saturday. It was the time for the Ivorians to benefit, as they netted from six yards with 20 minutes to go to make it a commanding 3-1 win.
Nigeria will now take on Burkina Faso, another youth football powerhouse, in the semi-finals slated for Friday at Togo’s main stadium, Stade Kegue from 5 p.m. Togo time (6 p.m. Nigeria time).
The same night, Group B winners, Cote d’Ivoire, will take on the Niger Republic as from 8 p.m. Togo time (9 p.m. Nigeria time).
The winners of the semi-finals will battle for the diadem on Wednesday next week at the Stade Kegue, and also qualify for the CAF U17 Cup of Nations billed for March 13th-31st, in Morocco.
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