- WAFU B U17 reaches the finals as the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria will now face Burkina Faso for the prestigious title
- Nigeria and Burkina Faso are through to the final and have both qualified for the 2023 Africa U17 Cup of Nations
- A brace by Emmanuel Michael and a sensational header from Abubakar Idris Abdullahi helped Nigeria beat Ivory Coast 3-1 in the semis
The five-time world champions, Golden Eaglets, have qualified for the 2023 Africa U17 Cup of Nations, underscoring Nigeria's prowess in youth football on the African continent.
Free-kick specialist Emmanuel Michael found the back of the net twice from dead balls while Abubakar Idris Abdullahi headed home the third goal that condemned the U17 boys of Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-3 defeat in the first semifinal of the ongoing WAFU B U17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana.
Complete Sports reports that the Nigerian team had to come from behind to win the tie after conceding first courtesy of a Yan Diomande strike who scored from the penalty spot in the first minute following a foul in the danger area.
The Golden Eaglets then launched their onslaught and restored parity in the 30th minute courtesy of a 22-year free-kick well taken by Emmanuel Michael.
He scored in a similar fashion in the opening game against Ghana following a long free-kick from the right-wing.
And in the 43rd minute, Nigeria went ahead as Michael sealed his brace scoring again from a free-kick at the edge of the box, blindsided goalkeeper Mohamed Cisse with an intelligent attempt that swept past the static wall.
Ivory Coast came firing from all cylinders in the second half, but they were pegged further back on the hour mark when Abubakar Idris Abdullahi found the net with a glancing header.
In the closing stages, the Ivorians were down to 10 men after Makhete Moustapha N’diaye was shown the red card. It ended; Nigeria 3-1 Ivory Coast.
Victory over the Ivorians means Nigeria will be one of the eight participating teams at next year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Algeria.
Sports Brief earlier reported that Ghana's U17 male national football team, the Black Starlets, will miss the Africa U17 Cup of Nations next year after suffering defeat to Burkina Faso in the semi-finals of the WAFU Zone B Cup of Nations.
Ousmane Camara's second-half penalty ended the hosts' dream of returning to the continental championship.
The West African giants will have to wait for another three years to qualify for the Africa U17 tournament.