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AFRICAN’T! CONTINENTAL QUARTET BUNDLED OUT OF U17 WORLD CUP

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

One after the other, the four African teams at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil have been bundled out. Senegal losing 2-1 to Spain on Wednesday night completed the exit of the continental bearers.

Continental champions, Cameroon were the first to be eliminated at the group stage while the trio of Nigeria, Angola and Senegal sailed into the Round of 16.

But like a wild hurricane blowing over sands, the trio were eliminated even as pundits had projected that three of the eight quarterfinalists could be African teams.

After all, seven of the previous seven of the preceding 17 tournaments had been won by Africans – Nigeria five times and Ghana twice.  That number makes Africa the most successful confederation in the tournament.

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Angola, losing through a solitary goal to Korea Republic on Tuesday became the first to be eliminated from the Round of 16. Nigeria followed next, leaving Senegal to suffer the same fate on Wednesday evening.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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