The Golden Eagles of Nigeria on Friday defeated the Junior Etalons of Burkina Faso 2-1 to win the 2022 West African Football Union U-17 tournament at the Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana.
Abubakar Abdullahi had threatened the Burkinabe as early as the eighth minute when his low drive streamed away from goal, but in the 22nd minute, he rose highest in the box to powerfully nod Emmanuel Michael’s perfect delivery into the net for the Eaglets’ first goal.
Abdullahi missed a golden opportunity in the 34th minute to make it two for himself and for Nigeria, allowing the Stallions a respite.
The miss would knock hard seven minutes later, when Abdulramane Ouedraogo, also with a header, equalised for Junior Etalons.
Two minutes into the second half, Abdullahi got his second and Nigeria’s second, taking the Golden Eaglets to a 2-1 lead.
However, 12 minutes later, he should have made it a hat-trick and Nigeria’s third but he lost the opportunity.
That loss could once more have proved costly, as the Stallions broke forward, only to see Nigeria goalkeeper Richard Odoh come up with a magnificent save.
In the 67th minute, Ebube Okeke rocked the crossbar from 25 yards, but there were to be no more goals and Nigeria collected a second regional diadem at youth level five weeks after the U20 boys defeated neighbours Benin Republic in the final to win the WAFU B competition in Niger Republic.
Nigeria goalkeeper Richard Odoh was named Man-of-the-Match.
His compatriot Emmanuel Michael won the prize in all three previous matches against Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast.
In the third-place match, an injury time goal earned Ghana a hard-fought 3-2 win against Ivory Coast in the third place match.
After losing to Nigeria and Burkina Faso in the semi-finals, both Ghana and Ivory Coast headed into the match with the hope of ending their campaign at the tournament on a high.
With the game tied at 2-2 and heading for penalty shootout, Abdul Razak Salifu netted in the 92nd minute to seal the win for his side.
Ivory Coast had taken the lead in the seventh minute but Abdul Rashid Adam equalized for Ghana just two minutes after the opening goal.
Ghana then went 2-1 up in the 57th minute before Makhete Moustaha N’Diaye made it 2-2 on 72 minutes.
And in two minutes of added time Salifu emerged the hero as he bagged the winner to end the tie 3-2 for the hosts.