Again, Cote d’Ivoire proved too strong for Nigeria in football. In six consecutive matches since September 2019, Ivorian teams have dealt with different grades of Nigeria’s national teams – Super Falcons, U-23, Flying Eagles and now Golden Eaglets.
In all, Ivorian teams eliminated Nigeria from different competitions including the men and women football events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
Golden Eaglets’ qualification for the semi-finals and later the final tournament of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations is rooted in the benevolence of Cote d’Ivoire who aided Nigeria by beating Ghana by a two goal margin.
All the same, in two encounters at the WAFU zone B tournament in Lome, Cote d’Ivoire beat Nigeria. The latest was in the final match of the tournament on Monday night.
The Nigeria’s U17 boys came close to a stunning comeback from three goals down before losing 2-3 to their Ivorian counterparts.
The sleeky Baby Elephants, who had won all their previous three games in the tournament (1-0 over Nigeria; 3-1 over Ghana and; 1-0 over Niger Republic), raced to a 1-0 first half lead and then added two more before the 70th minute, leaving five-time world champions Nigeria crestfallen and looking out of sorts at the Stade Kegue.
However, the Eaglets pulled themselves together and scored two quick goals late in the game to earn a respectable result, as both teams picked tickets to the 2021 Africa U17 Cup of Nations holding in Morocco 13th -31st March.
Earlier in the evening, Burkina Faso’s Baby Etalons, who lost 0-1 to Nigeria in the semi finals, grabbed the tournament’s bronze medals after an 11-10 penalty shoot-out win over Niger Republic following 1-1 draw in the classification match.
The Golden Eaglets’ contingent is expected back in Nigeria on Tuesday.