Rising youngster Olakunle Olusegun scored his fourth goal of the tournament to inspire Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets to a 2-1 win over hosts Niger on Wednesday night in the second semifinal game of the West Africa Zone B qualifying tournament for next year’s Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations.
Olusegun’s 58th minute curler doubled Nigeria’s lead over their obstinate hosts after Akinkunmi Amoo had given Manu Garba’s side the lead in first half stoppage time. The Nigeriens had not conceded a goal in the tournament prior to Wednesday’s game but there was no stopping the rampaging Nigerian lads.
Olusegun’s goal was made the more important when the Young Menas pulled one back in second half stoppage time through Sountalma Assoumane, setting up a nervy final two minutes for the 2015 World Champions.
Both of Nigeria’s goalscorers Amoo (his second of the tournament) and the highly rated Olusegun were products of the 2017 NPFL Under-15 Promises tournament. Olusegun was named the Most Valuable Player of Wednesday’s match, beating Amoo who won it in Nigeria’s last game to the prize.
Nigeria will now face arch rivals Ghana in Saturday’s final to determine who goes through to next year’s tournament scheduled to be staged in Tanzania. The Black Starlets dug deep to overcome fierce neighbours Coted’voire 2-1 in Wednesday’s first semi-final.
Niger and Coted’voire will battle for third place in the UFOA B region before Nigeria and Ghana face-off at the Stade Municipal in Niamey at 7pm West African Time on Saturday. Only the zonal winner will progress to the 2019 Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania.