Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets fall short in WAFU B tournament, miss out on U-17 AFCON

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will not be participating in the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations after a disappointing loss to Ivory Coast in the semi-finals of the WAFU B tournament on Saturday evening.

Golden Eaglets lineup vs Ivory Coast

The Elephants of Ivory Coast secured their victory with a second-half goal by Youbah Coulibaly from a quick counter-attack.

Nigerian goalkeeper Dominic Chinedu was beaten at his near post, resulting in the only goal of the match.

Despite both teams having several opportunities, the game ended with Nigeria failing to capitalize on their chances, and the first half concluded goalless.

In a game with limited clear-cut chances, the Golden Eaglets were particularly wasteful in front of goal, with Abdulmuiz Adeleke being the main offender.

The Ivorians also had their moments, but neither team could break the deadlock in the first half.

After the restart, the pressure from the Ivorian side intensified.

Dominic Chinedu made a brilliant save in the 49th minute to keep Nigeria in the game. However, the breakthrough for the Elephants came in the 54th minute.

Youbah Coulibaly received a pass from midfield, sprinted into the Nigerian box, and coolly slotted the ball past Chinedu, giving Ivory Coast the lead.

Nigeria’s response

The goal served as a wake-up call for the Golden Eaglets. Captain Cletus Simon fired a shot in the 64th minute, but his effort was well saved by the Ivorian goalkeeper.

Rapha Adams also had an attempt on goal, but it was unsuccessful, while Abdulmuiz Adeleke squandered another golden opportunity in the 81st minute to get Nigeria level.

Despite their best efforts and increased pressure in the closing stages, Nigeria could not breach the solid Ivorian defense. The Elephants held firm, securing their place in the final.

Rapha Adams chased down by two Ivorian defenders

Consequences of the loss

With this defeat, Nigeria's Golden Eaglets, the defending champions, will miss out on the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations.

Consequently, they will not be present at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, marking a significant setback for the team.

The last time Nigeria qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup was in 2019 in Brazil as they were World Cup winners as recently as 2015.

The Ivorians will now face Burkina Faso in the final of the WAFU B tournament, after Burkina Faso defeated hosts Ghana in the other semi-final match.

Golden Eaglets line-up

Dominic Chinedu (Goalkeeper) Chika Sylvester, Chibuike Okorie, Destiny Samuel, Abdulwaris Yunus, Boluwatife Ekishola, Rapha Adams, Cletus Simon (captain), Edward Ochigbo, Abdulmuiz Adeleke. Abdulmuiz Oladimeji

Substitutes

Adekunle Adedigba, John Ogwuche, Qurib Adetola, Oreoluwa Agbenla, Imrana Muhammad, Daniel Ariehi, Chinedu Chike

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets fall short in WAFU B tournament, miss out on U-17 AFCON
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)