Nigeria’s national U17 team, the Golden Eaglets will face regional rivals Ghana in the final of the Zone B qualifiers for the 2019 U17 AFCON currently holding in the Republic of Niger.
The free-scoring Nigerian lads defeated hosts Niger 2-1 in their semi-final game on Wednesday to book a final date with the Black Starlets who earlier same day beat neighbours Coted’voire by the same score margin. Saturday’s final is made especially special with the incentive of an U17 AFCON qualification for only the eventual winners.
Nigeria are led by Manu Garba, coach of the Under-17 side when they won the World Under-17 tournament at the United Arab Emirates in 2013. Garba was also the coach of the side when they failed to qualify for even the African tournament held in 2017.
However, the former Gombe United coach has assembled a truly young side which have dazzled spectators in Niamey and won more friends than enemies for themselves. ABS FC youngster Olakunle Olusegun is the lead actor for the team with four goals from three matches while Shooting Stars’ Akinkunmi Amoo is not faraway from the ABS prodigy.
The free-scoring Eaglets have scored nine goals in their three games played so far, five more than any team in the six-nation tournament including Saturday’s finalist Ghana. The Ghanaians have made a steady progress from the start of the competition when they drew 0-0 with the hosts.
The only slight in the Eaglets’ record is their concession of goals in each game they have played in the tournament. Coach Garba will however be hoping his wards stay disciplined throughout the finale at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey starting from 7:30pm Nigerian time.
Hosts Niger will face Coted’voire in the Zone’s losers’ final to determine the recipients of the bronze medal shortly before the Nigeria/Ghana final.
Nigeria’s Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick has promised to take the Nigerian boys on a tour of either Jordan or Qatar should they beat Ghana (in preparation for Tanzania) in Saturday’s final while the Federation’s Technical Committee Chairman, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh promised the lads a sum of two million naira for the victory.