Nigerian national Under-17 football team, the Golden Eaglets, have qualified for the final of the ongoing 2021 U17 WAFU Cup in Togo after beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the semi-finals on Friday, January 15, 2021. An Emmanuel Papo strike was all the Eaglets needed to seal victory over the Young Stallions.
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Nigeria commenced the tournament on a less brilliant note after a 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast in their opening game in Group B. Their fate towards advancing into the next round would be left hanging after a 1-1 draw with the Black Starlets of Ghana in their second group game. Nigeria’s hope of emerging champions in the tournament was revived after Ghana lost to Ivory Coast, a result which saw the Eaglets qualify for the semi-finals.
Chief coach of the Nigerian side, Fatai Amoo, left nothing to chance on Friday after naming a strong squad for the encounter against the Stallions. Goalkeeper, Destiny Emuwahem, manned the post while the likes of Victor Udoh, Peter Asuquo, Chukwuemeka Egbu, Joseph Kuteyi, and goal scorer, Emmanuel Papo, were part of a strong eleven named by Amoo for the high profile clash.
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The first half would finish 0-0 as both sides struggled to outwit each other, but a 77th-minute close-range finish from Papo booked Nigeria the final ticket and also ensured that the Eaglets picked a ticket for the 2021 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations scheduled to hold in Morocco this year.
Commenting on their victory, coach Amoo revealed that his technical crew carefully studied the Stallions before the match.
‘We studied their games against Benin and Niger and we knew they attacked from the wings. They made good crosses with good players who can head the ball very well. We had to work on our defence to keep them away from our goal. We also motivated our boys, telling them they are improving.’
With Friday’s result, Nigeria is set to confront Ivory Coast in the final on Monday, January 18, 2020.
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