Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets suffered a shock 2-3 defeat in the hands of Burkina Faso in their opening game at the WAFU Zone B Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations qualifier in Niamey on Monday evening.
The Manu Garba-led Eaglets conceded twice in the opening seven minutes as the Burkinabes raced to a two-goal lead but Nigeria scored twice through Olakunle Olusegun to peg the scores at 2-2 going into the halftime interval.
Team captain, Abdul Komi gave Burkina Faso the lead from the penalty spot in the third minute before Aziz Siribe doubled their lead four minutes later. Shortly after hitting the cross bar, Nigeria halved the deficit through a well-taken goal by Olusegun in the twelfth minute before the youngster equalized on the dot of half time, converting a penalty of their own.
Nigeria continued to press in the second half with Olusegun, a product of the 2017 NPFL Under-15 Promises denied by Burkina Faso goalkeeper Jean Bazemo. With the game looking poised to end in a stalemate, Burkina Faso – beaten finalist at the 2001 Under-17 AFCON – struck with Man of the Match Moubarack Compaore providing the winner twelve minutes from time.
- Advertisement -
The defeat leaves Nigeria with all to play for in their second group game against Coted’voire. The Ivorians were not in action on Monday after their supposed opponents, Republic of Benin were disqualified on Sunday due to irregularities in their age as detected by the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Test (MRI).
Tuesday will be observed as a rest day in the competition. When hostilities resume on Wednesday, hosts Niger will face Ghana who will be playing for the first time in the tournament. The Nigeriens were held 0-0 by Togo in the tournament’s opening game on Sunday.
Two teams will advance from each group into the semifinal stage after the group stage games might have been completed on Sunday with only the tournament winners guaranteed of a place at next year’s Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania.