WAFU B U17 Tourney: Nigeria Qualify For U17 AFCON, Best Ghana 3-2




Nigeria finished in third place to scoop the bronze medals and book a place at next year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations after a hard-fought 3-2 defeat of hosts Ghana at the WAFU B U17 Championship on Tuesday.


For several days now, there had been opacity around the number of teams that would proceed to the 2025 Africa U17 Cup of Nations from the tournament in Ghana, but the window opened for the third-place winner here when, minutes to kick-off, Cote d’Ivoire (already in the competition final), was designated as hosts of next year’s continental finals.


With Cote d’Ivoire as hosts and guaranteed a slot, Burkina Faso (no matter the result of the final match) and the third-place winner in the earlier game of the final day, were assured of berths in Abidjan.


Stung by the words of NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the Eaglets took to the field with a winner’s mentality and took the lead in the 9th minute when Imrana Muhammad lashed the ball into the net after a goalmouth scramble.


Home support at the University of Accra Stadium gingered the Black Starlets into action, and they equalized 10 minutes later when a Nigerian defender unwittingly put the ball into his own net.


Three-time world champions Ghana took the lead for the first time in the game in the 27th minute when Harve Gbafa profited from a defensive blunder to beat goalkeeper Dominic Chinedu in goal for Nigeria.


Six minutes later, Abdulmuiz Adeleke, who got a brace in the Eaglets’ 3-0 defeat of Togo in their final group phase match, rattled Starlets’ goalkeeper Michael Armah, but the ball was cleared out of danger.


The Eaglets were unrelenting, and four minutes before half-time, Adeleke took his tournament tally to three when he nodded in the equalizer from a pull-out by John Ogwuche.


Both teams started the second period where they left off at half time, with delightful attacking football. Ogwuche’s rebound missed the target in the 79th minute.


In the second minute of added time, and with both teams appearing to be thinking of the inevitable penalty shootout, Adeleke took matters into his own hands and netted the winner for Nigeria to secure a place at next year’s continental finals.


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