WAFU U-17 Tournament: Nigeria Under Pressure As Ghana Battles Ivory Coast For Semi-final
By Amaechi Agbo
Nigeria’s U-17 male team the Golden Eaglets will be under immense pressure today as they watch Ghana battle Ivory Coast for the semi-final ticket of the ongoing 2021 WAFU Zone B U-17 Tournament in Lome, Togo.
Although the coach Fatai Amoo led lads are nowhere involved in the hostilities, the boys will be fasting and praying, including Nigeria Football Federation, NFF members for God of football to disappoint Ghana in the match.
For the third time in three different global and continental football tournaments, Nigeria national team needed to wait for at least three days to confirm their passage to the next stage of the competitions.
Super Falcons waited for five days to confirm their progress into the Round 16 of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
In December 2020, Flying Eagles waited for three days to confirm their passage ino the semi-final of the year’s WAFU U-20 Tournament in Benin Republic. They crashed out after result of Ghana vs Ivory Coast match went against them.
Today, Golden Eaglets have been in the waiting room, praying and fasting to see if they will progress to the semi-final stage in Togo.
How Did We Get Here?
Fatai Amoo and his lads began preparations for the tournament in November, 2020.
They camped in Abuja for 7 weeks where they played couple of friendlies with football academies.
Few weeks to the Lome tournament, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF conducted MRI test on the players and the result was disastrous as majority of the players the technical crew were banking on failed the mandatory test.
With another set of players hurriedly brought in, the team flew into Lome on Sunday, January 3rd and faced Ivory Coast on Wednesday.
They ingloriously lost by alone goal thereby making the match against Ghana’s Black Starlets a must win.
Sadly on Saturday, the teenagers were unable to pick the maximum points as they drew the match 1-1. The result ensured that their qualification to the semi-final is out of their hand.
The Waiting Room Calculation
Ghana sit second on the log behind leaders Cote d’Ivoire, who beat Nigeria 1-0 in their Group B opener.
The Golden Eaglets sit bottom of the log, hoping for a ‘good’ Ghana defeat in their final group game to reach the next round.
A point, in the least, in Tuesday’s clash with Cote d’Ivoire will progress the Black Starlets to the semi-finals.
Nigeria is praying and hoping that Ivory Coast would beat Ghana at least by 2-0 to confirm their passage.
All teams in the last four will secure qualification for the Africa U17 Cup of Nations (Afcon) later this year in Morocco.
The semi-finalists at Afcon normally qualify for the 2021 Fifa U17 World Cup but the global gathering has been cancelled due to safety concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.