Contesting only for the first-time ever in the WAFU B zonal qualifiers of the CAF African Schools Football Championship, Nigeria’s representatives, National Grammar School, were gallant losers to their counterparts from Cote d’Ivoire in a hotly-contested semi final match at the Stade Municipal de Kegue in Lome on Saturday evening. The 1-0 defeat meant the boys from Enugu will have to contend for the bronze medals against Ghana’s flag bearers on Sunday.
In their first match on Thursday, the National Grammar School boys routed the representatives of the Republic of Togo (host nation) 4-0. In their second match, they drew 1-1 with the team that represented Cote d’Ivoire.
On Saturday, a bizarre schedule saw them play three matches. They defeated Benin Republic 1-0, before losing 0-2 to Ghana’s representatives in a match they played the most part with 10 men after their central defender was red-carded. The unfavourable circumstances did not help as the team then lost 0-1 to Cote d’Ivoire’s representative team in the semi finals played on Saturday evening.
“The team did its best in the circumstances, though its best was not good enough. It is their first appearance and they gave it their best shot.
“We must commend the efforts of the Nigeria School Sports Federation, particularly its president, Dr Olabisi Temitope Joseph and the Chairman of its School Football Committee, Dr Obafunsho Usman for their efforts in organizing the National Finals that produced National Grammar School (in the male category) and FOSLA Academy (in the female category). This has been a learning curve for the schools, the NSSF and the NFF, and things can only get better,” NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said in Lome on Saturday.
NFF’s Assistant Director (Technical), Mr. Abdulrafiu Yusuf confirmed that the Confederation of African Football, during the week, informed the NFF that it (CAF) will send a total of 800 balls to National Grammar School through the Federation, as the school’s reward for its participation in the WAFU B zonal finals.