Shorthanded Golden Eaglets hold firm to defeat Niger

Nigeria's Golden Eaglets have earned their first win at this year's West Africa Football Union (WAFU) B U-17 tournament with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Niger on Sunday evening at the University Stadium in Accra.

Rapha Adams got the only goal of the game for the Golden Eaglets in the 31st minute to take Nigeria to four points. They are now tied with Burkina Faso who lead the group on goal difference.

Golden Eaglets celebrate
Photo by CAF media

The Golden Eaglets started the better of the two sides, and tested the Niger goal a few times in the opening exchanges, with Abdulmuiz Adeleke the main culprit for missed opportunities.

The young Nigerian side displayed impressive attacking prowess, putting the Nigerien defense under constant pressure right from the start.

Early dominance and breakthrough

Breakthrough came for the Golden Eaglets in the 31st minute when a freekick caused panic in the Nigerien defense.

Rapha Adams was the quickest to react, putting Nigeria ahead with a well-placed shot.

It was the first goal the Golden Eaglets scored at the tournament, following a goalless draw with Burkina Faso in their opening game. This goal ignited the Nigerian team, boosting their confidence and determination.

Rapha Adams
Photo by CAF media

Continued pressure and missed chances

After the breakthrough, Abdulmuiz Adeleke and Rapha Adams both had chances to add to Nigeria’s tally, but were unable to find the back of the net.

The first half ended with Nigeria leading 1-0, a testament to their dominance and control over the game.

The team’s performance in the first half was commendable, with solid defence and creative attacking play especially from the impressive Cletus Simon who was immense in midfield for Nigeria

Second half developments

The Eaglets continued from where they left off in the first half. Despite Rapha Adams and Simon Cletus getting their chances, they could not convert them into goals.

The game took a dramatic turn when Nigeria were reduced to 10 men after Chibuike Okorie was sent off for hauling a Nigerien player down as the last man.

This decision forced the Eaglets to adopt a more defensive approach for he rest of the game

The resultant free kick was brilliantly saved by Nigeria's goalkeeper Dominic Chinedu, who displayed excellent reflexes and composure.
The game remained very physical and never flowed smoothly as both teams went at each other with intensity. The Nigerian defense, however, stood firm against the Nigerien onslaught.

Late game tension

Nigeria then got a freekick in the 72nd minute near the Nigerien box, but John Ogwuche blasted the opportunity well wide.

The closing stages were dominated by Niger as they piled pressure on Nigeria in a bid to find the equaliser.

Despite being a man down, the Nigerian defence held strong and managed to close the game out successfully.

Cletus wins Man of the Match award

Golden Eaglets defeat Niger
Cletus Simon is MVP – Photo by Andrew Randa

Golden Eaglets skipper Simon Cletus was voted Man of the Match for his outstanding performance and leadership on the field.

With this win, Nigeria are now on four points, the same as Burkina Faso, who defeated Togo 2-0 earlier today in the other group game.

The Golden Eaglets will play their last group game against the Junior Hawks of Togo on Wednesday, aiming to secure their place in the next round.

The team will need to focus on maintaining their form and addressing any defensive lapses to ensure a strong finish in the group stage and beyond.

The Golden Eaglets are defending champions of the competition.

Golden Eaglets' line-up and substitutes

Starting XI: Chinedu Dominic, Chinedu Sylvester, Daniel Mendie, Destiny Samuel, Abdulwaris Yunus, Ekishola Boluwatife, Rapha Adams, Simon Cletus, Oreoluwa Agbenla, Abdulmuiz Adeleke, Abdulmuiz Oladimeji.

Substitutes: Adekunle Adedigba, Ibrahim Abdulganiyu, Edward Ochigbo, Imrana Muhammad, Chibuike Okorie, John Ogwuche, Qurib Adetola, Daniel Ariehi, Chinedu Chike.

Shorthanded Golden Eaglets hold firm to defeat Niger
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a veteran Nigerian sports journalist with over 20 years of experience covering the beautiful game across Africa. Andrew served as a Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 Men's National Team for three years, offering a unique perspective on the future stars of Nigerian football.

Beyond reporting, Andrew is a pioneer in sports graphics creation within Nigeria. His expertise extends to sports kit design, making him a true multi-faceted talent in the African sports landscape.

Andrew's experience is vast, with collaborations encompassing prestigious names like Kickoff, SuperSport, the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation), and the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League)