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  •  Football Kings of West Coast
    Football Kings of West Coast
     Football Kings of West Coast
    Football Kings of West Coast
    Features1 week ago

    Football Kings of West Coast

    Football Kings of West Coast Football Kings of West Coast   By Chukwuemeka Opara, News Agency of Nigeria   Nigerian soccer fans direly needed succour when the Super Eagles, bungled a veritable opportunity to appear in its seventh World Cup final in Qatar.  

    The Eagles disastrously drew 1-1 with the Black Stars of Ghana in Abuja on March 29, in one of the African playoffs for the November, 2022 mundial.  

    The team had drawn 0-0 with the Ghanians four days earlier in Kumasi thereby eliminated on the infamous away goals rule.

    The fans were aghast, with those inside the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, going berserk.

    They destroyed stadium facilities and anger was palpable across the nation.  

    After darkness comes light, as the old adage goes.

    But there seemed to be no light at the end of this tunnel.

    The distraught fans needed succour.

    The Eagles next engagements were two international friendlies against World Cup bound Mexico and Ecuador in the United States of America in May and AFCON 2023 qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome in June.   There were however two sub-regional youth competitions in between: The West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone B, U-17 and U-20 championships.

    In this two competitions to be hosted in Niamey, Niger Republic and Cape Coast, Ghana respectively, the two finalists would qualify for the African U-20 and U-17 championships in 2023.   These were competitions of lesser magnitude, but to an average Nigerian football fan, every victory mattered.

    The question sprouted: Would the Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets be ready?  

    The apprehension was somewhat confirmed.

    The Flying Eagles only resumed camping with barely three weeks to the competition in May.  Coach Ladan Bosso hurriedly invited players to camp.

    He lamented the shortness of the preparatory period, but vowed to present a team which would spring surprises.  

    Coach Nduka Ugbade, also lamented, but made the same promise on the Golden Eaglets.

    To the average Nigeria fan, the preparatory period was too short for both teams to make impact.

    The interest waned.  

    The Flying Eagles however, kicked off the competition in Niamey with a 2-0 spanking of defending champions Ghana on May 8. The team drew 2-2 with Burkina Faso to qualify for the semi-finals, where it beat an enterprising Ivorian team 2-1 to qualify for the final.

    This final qualification also earned it a berth at the African U-20 championships in Egypt in 2023. The team outclassed Benin Republic 3-1 in the final to win the competition.  

    The triumph took many fans by surprise.

    Joy was restored even if on a minute scale.

    The wish was for the Golden Eaglets to follow suit in June. The joy could perhaps be restored in full.  

    The Eaglets fortunately took the cue and took the WAFU Zone B, U-17 competition by storm.

    The team on June 11, whitewashed hosts Ghana 4-2. It defeated Togo 3-1 to qualify for the semifinal where it humbled Cote d’ Ivoire 3-1. The team sensationally beat a stubborn Burkina Faso 2-1 in the final to win the competition.  

    Thus, the new kings of the West African sub region football had emerged.  

    The News Agency of Nigeria sought the views of football fans in Ebonyi on both teams and steps to be taken by relevant authorities to ensure that the kingship extends to the African continent and perhaps, the world.  

    Chaka Nweze, Pioneer Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi congratulated the Golden Eaglets for the feat, noting that they duly followed the footsteps of their immediate seniors, the Flying Eagles.  

    Nweze, also former Chairman of Ohaozara Local Goverment Area of the state, said the victories of both teams showed that the astute ‘can do’ spirit of Nigerians always stand them out among their peers.  

    Nweze said both teams showed astuteness in their resolve to win the competitions right from the preparations.  

    “I watched the Flying Eagles training in Abuja before the competition.

    Despite the short period of preparation, they showed tenacity to succeed.

    One could see aggression, commitment and efficacy in their approach.  

    “They dismembered teams they played in their trial matches.

    The team continued from where it stopped at the competition proper and beat all opponents to emerge champions,” he said.  

    The soccer enthusiast said that the Golden Eaglets had a similar experience that was even more precarious.

    Bosso had the luxury of picking more established players for the Flying Eagles, but Ugbade had the challenge of raising a team from a pool of rookies who are in schools and academies.  

    “Ugbade who captained the Eaglets to win the inaugural FIFA Kodak U-16 World Cup in 1985, also contended with the initial setback of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

    Most of his first team players reportedly failed the MRI scan and he had to raise a formidable team within such a short period,” he said.  

    The former Super Eagles fullback still raised a team which tore opponents to tatters in the trial matches and in the regional championship in Ghana, Nweze noted.  

    He advised coaches of both teams to sustain such domineering posture when they compete at the CAF and world championships.  

    Brendan Okafor, a football historian, also commended both teams for their splendid performances at the sub regional competitions and urged them to follow the steps of their predecessors who reigned in the continent and in the world.  

    Okafor recalled that the national youth teams which dominated the sub region in respective competitions in the past, also did so in continental and world competitions.  

    “The Flying Eagles that won bronze at the World Youth Championship in 1985 were the best in the sub region and won the African Youth Championship.  

    “The competition was then contested on a home and away basis.

    The 1989 set to the competition also won the African championship then called the ‘Tessema Cup’ and gallantly lost to Portugal in the final of the World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia.  

    “The 2005 set also conquered Africa en route another silver medal win at the World Youth Championship in Holland.  

    “The Golden Eaglets squad that took the world by storm and won the inaugural FIFA U-16 World Cup in China in 1985 were the best in Africa.

    So also were the squads which also conquered the world in Japan 1993, South Korea 2007, United Arab Emirates 2013 and Chile 2015,” he said.  

    Okafor advised that just as the above mentioned successful teams, the coaches should retain the bulk of the players who ruled the sub region.  

    “We floundered in the past when teams were disbanded or their blending arrangements distorted before major competitions.  

    “The Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets coaches must had noticed areas of weakness and should strengthen the affected departments in their teams.

    They must ensure that the players who would be drafted to fortify the teams are better than the ones they are replacing.  

    “There should be no place for quota system in the set-ups.

    The best players, no matter their geo-political inclinations should be selected.

    Undue interferences from political and related interests should be jettisoned,” he said.  

    Martin Agunanne, former Rangers International Feeders team player, praised the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) for appointing experienced and competent coaches for both national teams.  

    “Coach Ladan Bosso had garnered enough experience to assemble a formidable team.

    Having failed with the Flying Eagles in 2007 and 2020, Bosso knew that this might be his last opportunity to impress as a national team handler.  

    “He quickly set to work with the present team and with less than three weeks to the competition in Niger Republic, produced a team that oozed talents from all departments.  

    “Nduka Ugbade follows in the same streak.

    He was an assistant to Manu Garba when the Eaglets conquered the world in 2013.   “He subsequently moved with Garba yet as assistant to the Flying Eagles in 2015. It is instructive to note that Emmanuel Amuneke who was also an assistant to Garba in 2013, went on to defend the title as the Eaglets head coach in 2015,” he said.  

    Agunanne advised both coaches to monitor the players who ensured victories for their teams.  

    “The period between these periods of conquests and the continental championships in 2023 is far and the players if not monitored, might derail.  

    “The players’ progress at their various clubs should be monitored to ensure that they stay fit and focused because the opposition at the continental championships would be tougher.  

    “The coaches should be in steady contact with the various clubs where these players ply their trades to ensure they are ready to conquer Africa and the world.  

    “The coaches should also use this free period to scout for players to fortify areas of deficiency and not to distort the laid down team building process,” he said.  

    Mrs Jane Ofoke, a teacher and football enthusiast, called for prayers and adequate support for both teams as they represent the hope of happiness.  

    “Between the World Cup qualification ouster and the recent floundering of the Super Falcons in the recently concluded African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Morocco, football fans had been disillusioned over our teams’ performances.  

    “Successes in the African U-20 and U-17 championships in 2023 will bring joy to Nigerians and keep the country in good stead of credible performances at both world championships.

    The players need prayers to maintain their current form and be free from injuries.  

    “The NFF and the sports ministry should adequately motivate the players and officials.

    A situation where the Golden Eaglets were reportedly rewarded with N40, 000 for their conquest in Ghana is appalling.

    It will not motivate the players.  

    “The only motivating factor to them will be to excel at the competitions, to secure lucrative deals either at home or abroad.  

    “The coaches of both teams should be sent to refresher courses abroad to gain more exposure and be in tune with modern dynamics of the game.

    Redundancy will definitely affect their abilities to compete at the continental and world levels,” he said.

    Unarguably, with motivation, the two teams will maintain their lead as the Football Kings of the West Coast.

    (NANFeatures) ** If used, please credit the writer as well as the News Agency of Nigeria .


    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  Minister urges Golden Eaglets to set sight on qualifying for World Cup
    Minister urges Golden Eaglets to set sight on qualifying for World Cup
     Minister urges Golden Eaglets to set sight on qualifying for World Cup
    Minister urges Golden Eaglets to set sight on qualifying for World Cup
    General news1 month ago

    Minister urges Golden Eaglets to set sight on qualifying for World Cup

    The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday told the Golden Eaglets not to rest on their oars but continue to work hard.

    Dare, who hosted the team to a reception at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, said they needed to remain focus as they still have more ahead of them.

    ”You still have the task of qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Under-17 World Cup scheduled for Peru, and it is no mean task,” he told the regional champions.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the national under-17 male football team had won the 2022 WAFU B Under-17 Tournament on June 18.

    They had defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 in the final match of the tournament held in Cape Coast, Ghana.

    Success in Ghana meant they qualified for the Africa Under-17 Championship in Algeria next year.

    While receiving the team, Dare told them that the work has only just began.

     “You must be prepared to work harder than you have done. The bigger ticket is to the World Cup in Peru in 2023.

    “You have set the standards high and you cannot lower it. It will be good for you to become continental champions in Algeria next year and then prepare to face the bigger hurdle, which is in Peru.

    “Since your coach, Nduka Ugbade, lifted the FIFA Under-16 World Cup  in 1985, Nigeria have won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup four times —— in 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015. My hope is that you will do it again for Nigeria.

    “Let me repeat, that we are proud of you and we will continue to give you the necessary support that you will need. Stay humble, listen to your caches and work hard,” he said.

    On his part, Ugbade thanked the Minister for the reception and added that he was hopeful that the team would begin training well ahead of time.

    “This team you see did not have as much training as expected, but we were able to do our best at the WAFU B and won the tournament.

    “I appeal that we begin the campaign for Algeria early, so that by the time we get to Algeria, Nigerians will see something totally different from what they have witnessed in Ghana,” he added.(

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  Sports administrator hails Golden Eaglets for lifting WAFU trophiy
    Sports administrator hails Golden Eaglets for lifting WAFU trophiy
     Sports administrator hails Golden Eaglets for lifting WAFU trophiy
    Sports administrator hails Golden Eaglets for lifting WAFU trophiy
    General news2 months ago

    Sports administrator hails Golden Eaglets for lifting WAFU trophiy

    A football administrator, Ebere Amaraizu, has hailed the Golden Eaglets for emerging winners and lifting the 2022 West African Football Union (WAFU B) Under-17 Tournament’s trophy.

     

    The Eaglets defeated the Young Stallions of Burkina Faso by 2-1 at the Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana on Friday.

     

    Amaraizu, who is a Director in Nigerian Nationwide League One (NLO) in-charge of South-East, gave the commendation while speaking with NAN in Enugu on Saturday on the exploits of Nigerian youths.

     

    He said: “I salute the resilience of the boys and the ability to grow from their several mistakes to thrive and become champions in the final match.

     

    “We commend the matured guidance role of the technical crew and bench, led by Coach Nduka Ugbade who is versatile in sports parenting by ensuring that they regularly grow from their mistakes, instead of the usual enforcement of consequences.

     

    “We commend the Nigeria Football Federation, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and other relevant stakeholders for their support which contributed immensely to the smooth atmosphere for the lads to thrive.”

     

    Amaraizu, who is also the National Coordinator of Police Campaign Against Cultism and Other Vices (POCACOV), urged the Golden Eaglets to shift focus to African stage where they would represent West Africa alongside with Burkina Faso in Algeria.

     

    “It is expected to be challenging because that is where tickets to FIFA U-17 World Cup will be picked,” he said.

     

    The administrator urged the handlers to work on the takeaways which the tournament had provided with a view to coming up stronger and better for the task ahead and to continue to thrive.

     

    “The lads should not be carried away but to continually remain focus as this is not yet time to shout uhuru.

     

    “The Golden Eaglets stride is in line with ‘Our Must Thrive Advocacy’ of POCACOV, which is meant for a better society and placing responsiveness and accountability on the upbringing of youths in the country,” he added. (

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  Nigeria beat Burkina Faso to win WAFU B Under 17 Championship
    Nigeria beat Burkina Faso to win WAFU B Under-17 Championship
     Nigeria beat Burkina Faso to win WAFU B Under 17 Championship
    Nigeria beat Burkina Faso to win WAFU B Under-17 Championship
    General news2 months ago

    Nigeria beat Burkina Faso to win WAFU B Under-17 Championship

    Five-time world champions Golden Eaglets on Friday edged the Young Stallions of Burkina Faso 2-1 to win the WAFU B Under-17 Championship at the Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the victory for Nigeria has come barely few weeks after they claimed the WAFU B Under-20 Championship.

    Then, they had beaten neighbours Republic of Benin in Niger Republic to claim the title.

    The under-17 championship’s final match saw Nigeria on the front foot early as forward Abubakar Abdullahi threatened the Burkinabe rear as early as the 8th minute.

    That was when his low drive streamed away from goal.

    But in the 22nd minute, Abdullahi made up for the missed chance as he rose highest in the box to powerfully nod Emmanuel Michael’s perfect delivery into the net.

    Abdullahi missed another golden opportunity to grab a brace, as he flulled his lines, thereby allowing the Stallions a respite.

    The miss would knock hard seven minutes later, when Abdulramane Ouedraogo, equalised for Burkina Faso also with a header.

    Two minutes into the second half, Abdullahi got his brace and Nigeria’s second goal, giving the Golden Eaglets a 2-1 lead.

    Twelve minutes later, he should have made it a hat-trick with Nigeria’s third but he lost the opportunity.

    The loss could once more have proved costly, as the Stallions broke forward, only to see Nigeria goalkeeper Richard Odoh come up with a magnificent save.

    Ebube Okeke rocked the crossbar from 25 yards in the 67th minute.

    But there were to be no more goals as Nigeria collected a second regional diadem at youth level.

    NAN reports that at the end of the game, Nigeria’s goalkeeper Odoh was selected the Man-of-the-Match.

    His compatriot Emmanuel Michael had won the prize in all three previous matches —-against Ghana, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire.

    (

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  Ugbade hails Eaglets performance says there s still room for improvement
    Ugbade hails Eaglets’ performance, says there’s still room for improvement
     Ugbade hails Eaglets performance says there s still room for improvement
    Ugbade hails Eaglets’ performance, says there’s still room for improvement
    General news2 months ago

    Ugbade hails Eaglets’ performance, says there’s still room for improvement

    Nduka Ugbade, the Head Coach of Golden Eaglets, on Tuesday expressed delight with his team’s performance against Cote d’Ivoire, adding however that there was still room for improvement.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Golden Eaglets had to come back from a goal down to defeat their Ivorian counterparts 3-1 on Tuesday.

    The Eaglets’ win was in the semi-finals of the ongoing WAFU B Under-17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana.

    Two goals by Emmanuel Michael and a glancing header by Abubakar Abdullahi condemned Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-3 defeat in the first semi-final match.

    Ugbade told newsmen during the post-match conference that his players gave a good account of themselves in the match, but emphasised however that the team was still a work in progress.

    “For all we know, this was a cross-over match to qualify for Algeria. It’s been interesting so far, but we’ve been losing a lot of passes.

    “This is bound to happen in football but at the end of the day we think before Algeria we will get a lot better

    “It’s a learning curve for the boys and I think they will get it right with time and we will see more goals start pouring in with ease,” he said.

    Ugbade added that he was satisfied with the performance of his players so far in the tournament.

    He noted that while they had little time to prepare for the competition, he was impressed with what the team had achieved so far.

    “We are not 100 percent there yet because some of the things I was expecting from my players to the best of my knowledge weren’t carried out specifically.

    “It was quite obvious  from the match today that they made a lot of mistakes in their passes and this we will have to improve.

    “It is a direct result of us not starting preparations at home on time.

    “So, to this extent I am very happy for the job they have done so far, getting to this point and managing to win the match,” the former defender said.

    The coach also singled out Michael for praise, noting that what he had achieved in the championship was remarkable.

    “Above all, special kudos to Michael who has been able to win the man-of-the-match award in three of the matches.

    “This is indeed a wonderful and remarkable achievement,” he said.

    NAN also reports that victory over Cote d’Ivoire meant that Nigeria will be one of the eight participating teams at next year’s Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Algeria.

    The Eaglets will next take on Burkina Faso, winners over hosts Ghana in the second semi-final match, in Friday’s final match.

    (

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  Golden Eaglets to face Burkina Faso in WAFU B Under 17 Championship final
    Golden Eaglets to face Burkina Faso in WAFU B Under-17 Championship final
     Golden Eaglets to face Burkina Faso in WAFU B Under 17 Championship final
    Golden Eaglets to face Burkina Faso in WAFU B Under-17 Championship final
    General news2 months ago

    Golden Eaglets to face Burkina Faso in WAFU B Under-17 Championship final

    The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria will take on Burkina Faso in the final match of the 2022 WAFU B Under-17 tournament on Friday in Cape Coast, Ghana.

    In the competition’s second semi-final match on Tuesday, Burkina Faso edged hosts Ghana 1-0.

    This was courtesy of a second half penalty kick converted by Ousamane Camara in the 64th minute

    The second semi-final match’s result means both Burkina Faso and the Golden Eaglets will be at next year’s Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Algeria.

    In the first semi-final decided earlier on Tuesday, the Golden Eaglets came from a goal down to beat Côte d’Ivoire 3-1.

    Yan Diomandi had given the Baby Elephants the lead just two minutes into the game from the penalty kick spot.

    But two well-taken free-kicks by Emmanuel Michael saw the Golden Eaglets go into the break 2-1 ahead.

    Cote d’Ivoire were pegged further back on the hour mark when Abdullahi found the net with a glancing header to settle the contest.

    (

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  WAFU B U 17 Golden Eaglets beat Cote d Ivoire to qualify for U 17 AFCON
    WAFU B U-17: Golden Eaglets beat Cote d’Ivoire to qualify for U-17 AFCON
     WAFU B U 17 Golden Eaglets beat Cote d Ivoire to qualify for U 17 AFCON
    WAFU B U-17: Golden Eaglets beat Cote d’Ivoire to qualify for U-17 AFCON
    General news2 months ago

    WAFU B U-17: Golden Eaglets beat Cote d’Ivoire to qualify for U-17 AFCON

    Five-time world champions Golden Eaglets on Tuesday in Cape Coast, Ghana defeated their Ivorian counterparts 3-1 in the semi-finals of the WAFU B Under-17 Championship.

    The victory enabled the Nigerian side to qualify for the 2023 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) slated for Algeria.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Eaglets staged a remarkable comeback from a goal down to defeat Cote d’Ivoire at the Cape Coast Stadium.

    Two goals by deadball expert Emmanuel Michael and a glancing header by Abubakar Abdullahi condemned Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-3 loss in the competition’s first semi-final match.

    Yet, the Eaglets uncharacteristically conceded first when Yan Diomande scored from the penalty kick spot in the very first minute after a foul in the Nigerian box.

    The Nigerian boys launched onslaughts after onslaughts and were rewarded on the half-hour mark.

    This was when Michael, who scored a spectacular goal from a 22-yard free-kick in the opening match against hosts Ghana, found the range off another free-kick from the right wing.

    Thirteen minutes later, Nigeria were ahead for the first time in the encounter.

    This was after Michael, again from a free-kick at the edge of the box, blindsided goalkeeper Mohamed Cisse with an intelligent attempt that swept past the static wall.

    Cote d’Ivoire came into the second half determined to browbeat the Eaglets with their size and stoutness.

    But they were pegged further back on the hour mark when Abdullahi found the net with a glancing header.

    Four minutes later, the Baby Elephants were down to ten men after Makhete N’diaye was shown the red card for an unsporting behavior.

    Another free-kick by Michael in the 77th minute missed target narrowly, and Precious Williams came very close with four minutes left after a brilliant team move set him up with a clear chance.

    The Eaglets will take on the winners of the second semi-final match between hosts Ghana and Burkina Faso in Friday’s final match.

    However, victory over Cote d’Ivoire meant Nigeria will be one of the eight participating teams at next year’s Under-17 AFCON in Algeria.

    Defender and deadball prodigy Michael was presented with the Man-of-the-Match award after the game for the third consecutive match.

    (

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  WAFU Enugu Football Fans hails Golden Eagles 3 1 win against Cote d Voire
    WAFU: Enugu Football Fans hails Golden Eagles 3-1 win against Cote d’ Voire
     WAFU Enugu Football Fans hails Golden Eagles 3 1 win against Cote d Voire
    WAFU: Enugu Football Fans hails Golden Eagles 3-1 win against Cote d’ Voire
    General news2 months ago

    WAFU: Enugu Football Fans hails Golden Eagles 3-1 win against Cote d’ Voire

    Football enthusiasts in Enugu on Tuesday hailed the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria for their 3-1 win against Baby Elephants of Cote Côte d’Ivoire at the ongoing WAFU B under 17 tournament in Ghana.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the win qualified the Golden Eaglets to the next year’s U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria.

    Two well taken free-kicks from Emmanuel Michael in the first half and a second half header off Abdullahi Idris, ensured coach Nduka Ugbade side defeated Baby Elephants.

    Some enthusiasts who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria after the match hailed the players for their determination and zeal to do the nation proud.

    Nobert Okolie the Rangers media officer said, for the players to come back from a goal down to win the match 3-1 is commendable and that showed they are worthy ambassadors.

    “We are now in the final but the players should know that the assignment is not yet over untill they win the final.

    “Though, we have qualified for the forthcoming AFCON under 17 but we need to cap up the good performance with a trophy.

    Also, Ignatius Okpara, the former secretry of Sports Writers Assocation of Nigeria (SWAN), Enugu said the Golden Eagles should not soft peddle yet.

    “Nigeria need to show their dominance at the cadet football in Africa, the ways they have done at the world stage by winning the ongoing qualifiers.

    Okpara advised the players not to think that they had arrived as they still have a bigger mountain to climb at the final.

    He also called on the coaches to go back to the drawing board to correct the lapses discovered at the semifinals to ensure they win the next match.

    Coach Godwin Onumonu known as Apara Dede said the Golden Eaglets’s coach, Nduka Ugbade assembled a good team for the qualifier.

    “I have watched them play and they are good to go and I believe that the players will up their game at the final.

    The coach expressed dismay that national team matches are not been shown live or with commentary this day.

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  WAFU B U17 Golden Eaglets soar over Ghana s Black Starlets in six goal thriller
    WAFU B U17: Golden Eaglets soar over Ghana’s Black Starlets in six-goal thriller
     WAFU B U17 Golden Eaglets soar over Ghana s Black Starlets in six goal thriller
    WAFU B U17: Golden Eaglets soar over Ghana’s Black Starlets in six-goal thriller
    General news2 months ago

    WAFU B U17: Golden Eaglets soar over Ghana’s Black Starlets in six-goal thriller

    Five-time world champions, Golden Eaglets kicked off their 2022 WAFU U-17 Zone B Tournament in flying start with a 4-2 win against perennial rivals Ghana’s Black Starlets Saturday.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the match played at the Cape Coast Stadium, saw Emmanuel Michael, Precious Williams, Jubril Azeez and Wisdom Ekere score a goal each for Nigeria.

    The team, coached by 1985 FIFA U-16 World Championship-winning captain Nduka Ugbade, were imperious as they dominated and eventually overpowered hosts Ghana.

    Ghana threatened initially in the early stages of the first half but their efforts were punctured in the 12th minute through a powerful shot via a free kick by wing back Michael.

    The hosts frantically sought penalties with theatrical falls around the penalty area  three minutes after they conceded the goal but referee Daniel Kassa would not be conned.

    However, Williams got the second goal for Nigeria with a minute left in the first half as he latched onto a rebound after Ghanaian goalkeeper spilled a fierce strike by Kevwe Iyede.

    The vital goal ensured the Golden Eaglets went into recess on the ascendancy against the host nation in the coastal town.

    Nigeria’s advantage was extended further in the 51st minute through Azeez with a scrambled effort as the Ghanaian keeper sprawled on the ground but was unable to keep the ball away from goal.

    But the Starlets pulled a goal back seven minutes later when substitute Abdulrazak Salifu got the better of goalkeeper Richard Odoh.

    The Eaglets would not relent and in the 77th minute, midfielder Okere netted to restore Nigeria’s three-goal lead with an assured finish.

    A momentary loss of concentration in the vital area led to Nigeria conceding a penalty with two minutes to the end.

    Captain of the Black Starlets, Collins Agyemang made no mistake as he cooly converted from the spot and cut Nigeria’s advantage to two goals.

    NAN also reports that with the victory, the Eaglets top Group A of the championship ahead of their clash with Togo on Tuesday.

    Victory over the Togolese will guarantee Nigeria a spot in the tournament’s semi-finals.

    Group B is made up of Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic.

    (NAN)

  •  Why fans nicknamed me Obi Gombe United player
    Why fans nicknamed me ‘Obi,’ Gombe United player
     Why fans nicknamed me Obi Gombe United player
    Why fans nicknamed me ‘Obi,’ Gombe United player
    General news2 months ago

    Why fans nicknamed me ‘Obi,’ Gombe United player

    18-year-old Gombe United Football Club player, Mohammed Aminu, said his style of play had endeared him to fans and supporters of his club who gave him the nickname ‘Obi.’

    Aminu, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Gombe on Saturday, said fans likened his style of play to that of Ex-Super Eagles midfielder, Mikel Obi, hence the nickname.

    He said enjoyed the overwhelming support of fans of Gombe United during and after matches.

    He explained that some fans once named him after Super Eagles legend Nwankwo Kanu, while some likened his style  of play to Obi, “but with time they began to call me Obi.

    “This is because I like Obi, play like him and make the fans have a taste of what Obi used to offer Nigerians in terms of his unique passes and style of play.

    “I love Obi’s style of play and I am working hard under Coach Aliyu Zubairu who is mentoring me well to achieve my ambition of playing better than Obi.”

    Aminu who was part of Nigeria’s U-20 team, Flying Eagles, that won the WAFU B U-20 Championship in Niamey, Niger Republic, said it was a dream come true for him to be part of that winning team.

    He said the tournament had exposed him to a new level of training and experience which he said was a preparation for “bigger things to come.”

    Aminu told Nigerians to expect a young midfield player in the nearest future, “as I am doing my best to upgrade my skills daily and I believe one day I will wear the national team jersey.”

    He stated that he was working towards playing for the Super Eagles in a year or two for “Nigerians to see why Gombe United fans nicknamed me Obi.”

    On his take as a young player featuring in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Aminu said it was great playing in the NPFL under “a good coach like Zubairu who has given me such rare opportunity.”

    The young Gombe United midfielder who rated high the NPFL, said with young players like himself playing for the league, the national team at all levels would have enough experienced players to harness in the future.

    Aminu appealed to fans and supporters of Gombe United to continue to offer prayers and support the team to ensure that the team finished well with only six games left in the season.

    “I want to use this opportunity to thank Flying Eagles head coach, Ladan Bosso, for inviting me to be part of the Flying Eagles, and to Coach Zubairu, thank you for believing in me to play in NPFL,” he said.

    (NAN)