WAFU B U–17: Ugbade Hails Eaglets’ Spirit Ahead Final Against Etalons

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By; AYO OJEDOKUN Lagos

Head Coach Nduka Ugbade has told his Nigeria U–17 boys they still have grounds to conquer despite securing a ticket to the Africa U–17 Cup of Nations taking place in Algeria next year.

“We are going into the final match, and we are up against Burkina Faso, a team that has won all its four matches in this competition. We have also won our three matches here but we must win the fourth and final one to clinch the trophy. Let us not allow Burkina Faso to play five matches and win all five matches. We must work assiduously to win all our four matches here to be the only undefeated team of the tournament,” Ugbade told the Golden Eaglets at a training session in Cape Coast on Wednesday.

Ugbade and the Eaglets have drawn rave reviews so far at the WAFU B U–17 Championship, after scoring 10 goals in their three matches, while conceding only four, as left back Emmanuel Michael picked up the Man-of-the-Match award in each of the three games.

While Nigeria did the business in a three-team Group A that also included hosts Ghana and Togo, Burkina Faso were in the four-team Group that included Niger Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and Benin Republic. The Young Etalons dominated them all, and then pipped three-time world champions Ghana 1-0 in the second semi final on Tuesday to set up a potentially explosive Final with the Golden Eaglets.

Deadball revelation Emmanuel Michael will be the cynosure of eyes at the Cape Coast Stadium on Friday evening, having scored thrice from free-kicks for Nigeria in this tournament. The match begins at 6.30pm Ghana time (7.30pm Nigeria time).

Nigeria and Burkina Faso are already qualified to the Africa U17 Championship which Algeria will host next year, and from which Africa’s flagbearers to next year’s FIFA U17 World Cup in Peru will emerge.

Victory on Friday evening will mean Nigeria have swept the stakes in youth football in the seven-nation WAFU B within one month, with the U20 Boys (Flying Eagles) having won the WAFU B U20 Championship in Niger Republic just last month.

PHOTO: Emmanuel Michael with his MOTM award against Cote d’Ivoire after Tuesday’s semi final.   

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India 2022: Flamingos’ World Cup Opponents To Emerge In Zurich Today

By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos

Nigeria’s opponents at this year’s FIFA U–17 Women’s World Cup finals will emerge on Friday (today) afternoon during the draw ceremony scheduled for the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

Already, an Asiatic lioness nicknamed Ibha has been revealed as the Official Mascot of the 16-nation championship, which will hold from Friday 11th – Sunday 30th October in three Indian cities of Bhubaneswar, Goa and Navi Mumbai.

Nigeria, Morocco and Tanzania will fly Africa’s flag, to contend for the trophy against hosts India, China, Japan, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Spain and France in the seventh edition of the biennial tournament that was launched in New Zealand 14 years ago.

India hosted the FIFA U17 World Cup for the boys in 2018 and were slated to host the girls’ event two years ago, but the covid-19 pandemic aborted that, necessitating a postponement and scaling down of the original host cities to three.

The Flamingos, who have featured in every tournament since 2008 bar the 2018 edition staged by Uruguay, prevailed over the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Ethiopia on the African continent to land in India.

Today, Nigeria will be in Pot 3, alongside France, USA and China (meaning they will not be in the same group with any of those three). Hosts India occupy top spot in Pot 1 alongside Japan, Spain and Germany, with Mexico, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand in Pot 2. Pot 4 comprises Tanzania (playing at their first World Cup), Chile, Colombia and Morocco.

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