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Golden fleece-chasing Golden Eaglets bypass obstacles, head for Constantine



In their quest for the golden fleece, five-time world champions, Golden Eaglets of  Nigeria are scheduled to arrive in the Algerian city of Constantine on Sunday night for their final preparations for this year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations.

Following complications that arose in the process of securing entry visa into Germany for a planned final training camp in that country, the Nigeria Football Federation opted to send the squad earlier to Algeria for the final build-up, and Constantine, the renown city where the Eaglets will play Morocco, Zambia and South Africa in Group B.

The wards of FIFA Cadet World Cup -winning captain, Nduka Ugbade, swept all before them to win the WAFU B U17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana 10 months ago, and have put on display tremendous firepower in their preparations for the continental showpiece.

After resuming camp mid-March following the break for the general elections, the Eaglets played 12 friendly matches at their NFF/FIFA Goal Project, Abuja base, winning 11 of the matches and drawing the other one. They scored a total of 66 goals and conceded 14.

“We are going to Algeria with confidence but with level heads. We’re the champions of WAFU B, but in essence, nothing has been won. What matters now are winning a ticket to the FIFA World Cup and winning the Africa Cup. I believe we have the boys to do the job,” Ugbade said before the team left Nigeria on Sunday.


Nigeria will launch her campaign for honours at the 12-team continental championship on Sunday next week, against Zambia at the 22,000 -capacity Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui. They will then take on Morocco and South Africa in other matches in Group B.

The top four-placed teams in Algeria will qualify to represent Africa at the FIFA U17 World Cup finals scheduled for later this year.


Richard Odoh (HB Football Academy)

Yahaya Danjuma Lawali (Mahanaim FC)


Emmanuel Michael (Simon Ben Football Academy)

Haruna Abdullahi (Kurfi Tigers Academy)

Tochukwu Joseph Ogboji (Purple Crown Academy)

Jeremiah Oluwaseyi Olaleke (Ablaze Football Academy)

Umar Abubakar (Devine Football Academy)


Abubakar Idris Abdullahi (Jega United)

Precious Tonye Williams (HB Football Academy)

Ifeoluwa Adewale Olowoporoku (Triple 44 Academy)

Charles Adah Agada (Mavlon FC)

Hope Yusuf Linus (E.E. Sporting Club)


Jubril Opeyemi Azeez (Right Vision Choice Academy)

Anongu Isaac Aondoakaa (FC Bathel Sporting)

Israel Nwachukwu Usulor (Real Sapphire FC)

Temiloluwa Oluwayimika Adelakin (Box2Box Academy)

Simon Karshe Cletus (Mavlon FC)


Tochukwu Simeon Ogbadibo (Jossy United)

Light Chijioke Eke (C&C Football Academy)

Favour Oluwasegun Daniel (G12 Football Academy)

Chijioke Julius Linus (Triple 44 Academy)

Quadri Oluwatobiloba Adewale (Nathaniel Boys FC)


Gift Ukeh Adie (Paul E Football Academy)

Musa Oluwaseyi Akinfenwa (Real Sapphire FC)

Usman Ajibola Owoyemi (Triple 44 Academy)

Matthew Awodi Kingsley (Brook House Academy) 


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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Bitter-sweet for Golden Eaglets, wins WAFU 3rd place but miss U17 AFCON



NFF Searches For New Coach For Golden Eaglets -

The Confederation of African Football has clarified that next year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations will still have 12 finalists in attendance, as against the minimum of 16 teams being projected by African football enthusiasts.

This means that despite defeating host nation Ghana in Tuesday’s third-place match of the WAFU B U17 Championship, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have not qualified for the finals.

“The final tournament will still have 12 teams,” CAF’s Director of Competitions, Samson Adamu, told

Expectations had been high among African football aficionados that the 2025 Africa U17 Cup of Nations would be expanded, following FIFA’s allocation, at its Congress in Bangkok, penultimate week, of 10 slots to the continent for the 2025 FIFA U17 World Cup that Qatar has been designated to host.

Qatar will host five consecutive FIFA U17 World Cup finals beginning next year, each having 48 teams in attendance.

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Morocco honour U17 team at sumptuous Mohammed VI Football Complex



The Moroccan team was honoured with a warm reception at the luxurious Cinema hall of the Mohammed V! Football Complex after arriving back home from Algeria, where they finished second at the  U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The team, led by their coach Said Chiba were hosted to a reception at the Mohamed V Complex in Casablanca, hosted by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation boss Fouzi Lekjaa

Morocco had a historic run in Algeria, qualifying to the final for the first time ever, but fell at the final hurdle with defeat to Senegal in last Friday’s final in Algiers.

A message from the Moroccan King was also delivered to the players, praising them for their exceptional performance as well as qualification for the World Cup.

“It is with great joy that We extend to you Our warmest congratulations for the exceptional feat you have achieved by reaching the final of the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations and ensuring your well-deserved qualification for the 2023 World Cup,” the message said.

The King further added; “These performances honor this country’s football. I am proud of the remarkable maturity and discipline, the fine performance, the great competitive spirit and the high well-established behavior of the team.”

Meanwhile, Lekjaa was delighted that investments made over the years for the development of football in the country are finally starting to bear fruit.


At the same time, head coach Chiba was delighted with the support the team received while in Algeria, saying it gave them the motivation to battle for their dreams.

He says the results in Algeria were as a result of teamwork, discipline and hard work, tenets he says were a pillar for their success. Chiba now says the team needs to build on these performances for future assignments, including the World Cup.

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Five over Five as Senegal sweep all Africa football titles



* Africa Cup of Nations 2021 – won on 6 February 2022 in Cameroon

*African Beach Soccer 2022 – won in Mozambique on 21 October 2022

*African Nations Championship – won in Algeria on 4 February 2023 in Algeria

*African U-20  Cup Nations – won in Egypt on 11 March 2023

*African U-17  Cup of Nations – won in Algeria on 19 May 2023


All the five national teams’ football titles have been won by Senegal. Apart from the Beach Soccer titles which have always been won by Senegal, their victories in the other four competitions were the first.

 This is unprecedented in the continent. The fifth title, was attained Friday night when Mamadou Sawane headed home the winning goal seven minutes from time as Senegal scored twice in four minutes to come from a goal down and beat Morocco 2-1 to clinch their first ever  U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in a dramatic finale at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers.

Skipper Abdelhamid Ait Boudlal had given Morocco a 14th minute lead, one they kept until the 79th minute when Serigne Falou Diouf scored a VAR awarded penalty.

Sawane towered the entire defense to head home four minutes later, completing the hard-earned turnaround for the Teranga Cubs.

Senegal has now won a third consecutive continental title within four months, their team of local based players having won the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) title in February at the same venue of their conquest on Friday, while they also won the U20 AFCON title in Egypt in March.


Their senior national team began the continental dominance last February when they clinched the AFCON 2021 crown then continuing with an AFCON Beach Soccer title later in the year.

Heading into the Friday night’s duel, both teams were in unfamiliar territory, playing their first ever final, but it was Morocco who would go ahead first.

Skipper Ait Boudlal peeled away from his markers before beating the keeper to the ball to head home from an Abdel Hamid Maali corner.

It was a nerve calming goal for Said Chiba’s boys, as just 10 minutes before, the Senegalese had come close with skipper Amara Diouf having a freekick fly inches wide off target.

The game went into a full contest, with both sides battling for possession, but clear-cut chances at goal diminishing.


In the second half, Senegal started faster off the blocks, Mamadou Sadio shooting just over with only 45 seconds gone on the clock. On the other end, Morocco had a chance when Maali struck a shot from the edge of the box, but it flew wide.

Senegal’s turnaround came in the 76th minute when Moroccan skipper Ait Boudlal was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box. After visiting the pitch-side monitor, the referee awarded the penalty and Serigne tucked it home.

The goal inspired the Senegalese and they piled pressure on Morocco in the final 10 minutes of the game. Just four minutes later they had their reward when substitute Sawane stormed in to the edge of the six yard box to head home what would be the winner from a corner.

The goal punctured the entire Moroccan side, and even senior national team coach Walid Regragui who had flown in for the final, was dismayed, standing in anguish at his sitting spot in the VIP dias.

Senegal managed to see off the remaining minutes, plus six of added time, to win the title for the first time ever.

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