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.
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.
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.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, on Monday urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to work toward the improvement of domestic leagues in the country.
Dare made the call when he hosted the U-20 men’s national team, the Flying Eagles in Abuja, following their victory at the WAFU B zone championship in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The minister said the performance showed the commitment of the board of the NFF toward improving the game of football in the country.
Dare said: “I want you to maintain the same level of discipline on all sides.
“The future of football is in the hands of these young ones and we must do all to ensure it remains the same.
“ One way is to ensure that is the rebirth of our leagues and give it the quality it desires.
“This is the only way we can have players who will go on to play for Super Eagles as well as top clubs in Europe.
“We will continue to work and support you where necessary and I must say that I am proud of what you have done,’’ the minister said.
Mr Mohammed Sanusi, the General Secretary of NFF, lauded the minister for his commitment to the growth of the game.
“In a meeting the minister once had with the NFF board, he challenged us to ensure that we focus on other teams as well alongside the Super Eagles.
“That challenge has been in our minds and that is what we have seen today in the Flying Eagles team.
“The team left days earlier to Niger Republic ahead of the event and participated in friendly matches, which helped them acclimatise and better prepared for the tournament.
“Thi team have worked hard and I am happy to present them to you and Nigerians,’’ Sanusi added.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria emerged champions of the seven-team tournament and have qualified for the 2023 U-20 African Championship in Egypt.
Football fans in Ebonyi have described the Flying Eagles victory at the West African Football Union (WAFU) zone B competition on Friday as a ‘soothing balm’ on the football pysche of Nigerians.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the nation’s male U-20 team defeated the young Squirrels of Benin Republic 3-1in Niamey, Niger Republic to win the competition, to emerge the third champions of the bi-ennal tournament.The Eagles, alongside the young squirrels, thus qualified for the African Youth championship in Egypt in February 2023 for a slot in the World Youth Championship in Indonesia.The fans who spoke to NAN on Saturday in Abakaliki, congratulated the Eagles, noting that they somewhat brought the minds of soccer fans back to football.Hillary Ogbonna, Chief Coach of newly formed Salt City Football Club of Abakaliki, said the victory would assuage the feelings of soccer fans after the Super Eagles failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 world cup.“The WAFU competition might not be in the class of the world cup but the victory will make the fans believe in their national teams again.“I am sure that even those who angrily vandalised the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja, when the super eagles flopped against Ghana, would have something to cheer,” he said.Gregory Ikpeama, Defunct Anambra State Environmental and Sanitation Authority (ASESA) Warriors player, described the team as worth champions due to its incisive and result-oriented display in the competition.“Coach Ladan Bosso assembled a bunch of dedicated footballers who want to create names for themselves with football.“It is astonishing that the team had barely two weeks to prepare for the competition and right from its trial matches, played as if it had been together for months,” he said.Chief Abel Okeh, a Business man and football enthusiast, urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to commence immediate preparations for the African youth championship.“The bulk of the victorious players should be retained while area of noticeable deficiencies should be fortified.“The NFF should arrange with the clubs of these players to formulate convenient training programmes for the team for adequate preparations,” he said.Mrs Chika Onoh, a teacher and football buff, urged the Golden Eaglets to emulate the Flying Eagles as they prepared for WAFU zone B U-17 competition in Ghana.“Coach Nduka Ugbade should seek necessary tips from Bosso to ensure eventual victory in the competition.“A victory for the eaglets will go a long way in soothing the nerves of football fans still reeling from the senior team’s world cup outster,” she said.
Nigeria’s under-20 male football team, the Flying Eagles, on Friday emerged champions of the West Africa B Zone when they defeated the Young Squirrels of Republic of Benin 3-1.
They achieved this feat after winning in the final match of the WAFU B Under-20 Championship held in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Tolulope Ojo set Nigeria on the path to victory in the 38th minute with a marvelous goal at the Stade General Seyni Kountché.
Ojo, who plays his club football for Ikenne-based Remo Stars, made it two for Nigeria in the 62nd minute.
Ibrahim Muhammad made it 3-0 with 16 minutes to go, when he cleverly won the ball as the Beninoise goalkeeper tried to launch an attack, and then heaved the ball over his head.
The Squirrels scored a consolation goal with few minutes to the end of the match.
The Republic of Benin side had won their Group A which included hosts Niger Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, before edging Burkina Faso in the first semi-final match on Tuesday.
Nigeria, seven-time African champions, were worthy winners of the trophy.
They started their campaign with a 2-0 spanking of tournament title-holders and continental champions Ghana, before a 2-2 draw with Burkina Faso.
In the semi-finals, they were stretched to the limit by an Ivorian team with a blistering pace and superb turn, but they still edged the tie 2-1 after extra time.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria and Benin Republic will now fly WAFU B zone’s flag at the 2023 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Nigeria’s national under-20 male football team on Tuesday overpowered Cote d’Ivoire in the first semi-final match to reach the final of the ongoing WAFU B Under-20 Championship in Niamey.
The 2-1 victory not only gave them a ticket to Saturday’s final match but also came a ticket to next year’s Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Egypt.
Midfielder Daniel Daga put Nigeria in front after only five minutes, when he cleverly escaped the attention of the Ivorian defenders to nod in from a well-weighted pullout.
The seven-time African champions then launched onslaughts after onslaughts on the Ivorian goal but failed to add to the tally.
It was rather the Ivorians who equalised just before half-time from an intelligently-taken free-kick at the edge of Nigeria’s penalty box.
Neither team could find another goal to gain upper hand before the end of regulation time inside the Stade General Seyni Kountché in Niamey, and the game went into extra time.
Forward Ibrahim Yahaya got the winner for Nigeria in the 111th minute of play when he tucked in from the penalty kick spot to make it 2-1.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria will now square up against neighbours Benin Republic in Saturday’s final match.
Flying Eagles’ forward Ahmed Abdullahi has recovered and is recuperating in hospital following an incident on Wednesday in Niamey, a team official said on Thursday.
“The player has recovered fully and is in good health. We went through several scary hours before and after he got to the hospital, but we thank God that he is fully recovered now,” the Team Secretary, Aliyu Ibrahim said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Abdullahi had been injured during the Nigeria versus Burkina Faso game at the ongoing WAFU B Championship in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The former Golden Eaglets player, who scored Nigeria’s second goal against African champions Ghana on Sunday after coming off the bench, was rushed to hospital after suffering a head injury.
This was during the 2-2 draw with the Junior Etalons at the Stade General Seyni Kountché.
Ibrahim however said the player should be considered out of the tournament in view of the severity of the injury.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), in a statement on Thursday by its Communications Department, said its General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, was with Abdullahi at the hospital.
“The General Secretary asked him to remain focused and pray for the team to succeed at the tournament,” it said.
NAN reports that Wednesday’s match, a 2-2 draw with Burkina, ensured Nigeria remain Group B leaders at the competition.
The seven-time African champions will play in the semi-finals as group winners if Burkina Faso fail to defeat Ghana by up to three goals on Saturday.OLAL
Nigeria’s National Under-20 men’s football team, the Flying Eagles, on Wednesday qualified for the semi-finals of the WAFU-B U-20 championship in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The team played a 2-2 draw with their Burkinabé counterparts in a thrilling encounter at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium, Niamey, to scale through in their second and last Group B match.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the team had, on Sunday, beaten their Ghanaian counterparts 2-0 in their opening match.
With four points from the group, the Flying Eagles have now secured a berth in the semi-finals of the regional tournament.
Ibrahim Muhammad put the team in front in the 24th minute with a clinical finish.
The Junior Etalons of Burkina Faso rallied back and equalised from the penalty spot.
Ibrahim Yahaya scored from the penalty spot in the 69th minute to make it 2-1 for Nigeria before the stubborn Burkinabé equalised in the closing minutes of the game to make it 2-2.
Flying Eagles enterprising midfielder Daniel Daga was voted Man of the Match.
NAN reports that in Group A on Tuesday, Cote’d Voire also scaled into the semi-finals after beating Togo 2-0 while hosts Niger could only manage a goalless draw with Benin Republic.
The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals, while only the two finalists would qualify for the 2023 Under-20 AFCON in Egypt.
All four semi finalists from the Egypt tournament will qualify to represent Africa in the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia.
Nigeria’s National Under-20 men football team, the Flying Eagles, on Sunday in Niamey beat their Ghanian counterpart 2-0 in the WAFU-B U-20 championship.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the opening match in Group B of the competition was played at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium, Niamey, Niger Republic.
The Ladan Bosso tutored boys started the match on a bright side with Aminu Muhammad opening scoring in the 5th minute with a sublime finish that unsettled the Ghanians.
The Ghanians tried to rally back but were stopped in their tracks by the Nigerian defence marshalled by team captain Oluwatosin Adegbite.
On resumption of the second half, the Flying Eagles doubled their lead through substitute Ahmed Abdullahi in the 78th minute.
Ladan Bosso, the team’s coach, after the match, praised the resilience of his boys while assuring of an improved side in the next match.
The Flying Eagles who are seven-time African champions, will on Wednesday face Burkina Faso in the second and last game of the group at the same venue.
Cote D’Ivoire had on Saturday shocked host Niger Republic 1-0 in the Group A opener while Benin Republic beat Togo by the same margin in the same group.
The top two teams from each group will progress to the competition’s semi-finals, while only the two finalists would qualify for the 2023 Under-20 AFCON in Egypt.
All four semi finalists from the Egypt tournament will qualify to represent Africa in the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia.(www