WAFU B: Amid uncertainty over AFCON qualification, Eaglets face Ghana in third-place game

In a surprising turn of events, the WAFU B U-17 Championship’s bronze medal match will feature two of youth football’s giants, Nigeria and Ghana, in a high-stakes duel in Accra, Ghana. The clash is set for Tuesday, with both teams eyeing a consolatory finish after unexpected semi-final exits.

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets, the tournament’s defending champions, were defeated 1-0 by Ivory Coast in a tense encounter, while Ghana’s Black Starlets succumbed to Burkina Faso in their own semi-final game.

WAFU B: Golden Eaglets see off Togo, to face Ivory Coast in semis
Photo by Apostle Pikin

The outcome of these matches was a stark departure from predictions that had both teams as favorites for the WAFU B U-17 title. Nigeria, who defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 in the final of the last edition to lift the title then got a bit of leeway when news filtered in that there might be an additional slot for the zone.

At the start of the tournament, only two teams were scheduled to qualify from the zone, but there was a confusion on how many teams will make it to the U-17 AFCON with CAF yet to make any clarification on the matter.

To be or not to be?

Amid the uncertainty over the number of qualifying spots for the 2025 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, has called for the Eaglets to approach the third-place match with the highest level of commitment.

“The exact number of qualifiers is still unclear, with speculations ranging from three to four teams. It’s imperative that our team plays with full dedication to clinch third place,” he stated.

Dr. Sanusi also recognised the challenge that the home team poses, with the Black Starlets likely to leverage local fan support to their advantage. Despite this, he expressed confidence in the Eaglets’ ability to triumph over the Ghanaians.

The match is scheduled for 3pm local time in Ghana (4pm in Nigeria) at the University of Accra Stadium, preceding the final showdown between Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast later in the evening.

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The tournament serves as a crucial developmental stage for West African youth talent, often leading to the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Both Nigeria and Ghana have a storied history in the competition, having produced numerous world-class players.

Nigeria’s path to the bronze match was a roller-coaster of emotions, marked by impressive displays in the group stages but halted by a resilient Ivorian team in the semi-finals.

Despite the disappointment, the Eaglets remain focused on claiming third place as a testament to their resilience.

Ghana’s Black Starlets, facing their own set of challenges, put forth strong performances but were ultimately outplayed by Burkina Faso. With the advantage of playing on home turf, they are expected to give a spirited fight for bronze.

Disappointment for Golden Eaglets and Black Starlets

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The significance of the third-place match extends beyond the medals, as it could influence qualification for the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations.

Both Nigeria and Ghana will enter the fray with determination, aiming to secure a victory that could have far-reaching implications for their future in the competition.

As the Eaglets and Black Starlets gear up for this crucial encounter, anticipation builds among fans for a match that promises to showcase the passion, skill, and rich footballing culture of both nations.

 The stage is set for a memorable battle at the University of Accra Stadium, where these young talents will vie for victory and a chance to advance to the continental stage.

Nigeria will have to beat Ghana to stand any chance of making it to the U-17 AFCON if CAF decides to add an additional slot for the WAFU B zone.

WAFU B: Amid uncertainty over AFCON qualification, Eaglets face Ghana in third-place game
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)