Burkina Faso dislocates Golden Eaglets’ wing moves into U17 semis and World Cup with 2-1 victory.
…Stallions to face Cub Lions of Senegal in the Semifinals on Sunday.
The Stallions of Burkina Faso gave a devastating shock treatment to most celebrated U17 team in Africa, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria 2-1 in an epic battle at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers on Thursday night that Nigerians will want to forget quickly.
Incidentally the Golden Eaglets had beaten the Burkina Babe by the same margin at the WAFU zonal qualification in Ghana last year but now the Eaglets will within the next 48 hours take an available flight back to Abuja due to hard luck.
The Nigerians would have wrapped up the game in victory missing five good goals with the gap of the skin of the tooth in first 30 minutes but hard luck, poor marksmanship and constant disconnect upfront, a trade mark with the Nigerians made them lose the much coveted ticket to the world cup by whiskers.
Two Nigerian defenders went falling like over ripe pawpaw in their territory and Aboubakar Camara rifled a shot into goal in the 45th minute for the first goal.
On resumption of the second half, the Stallions piled pressure on the Nigerian defence who were fond of short passes to clear their lines and in a confrontation, S. Alio was brought down in the box for a penalty that Aboubakar Camara made a good conversion of into goal no 2 in the 57th minute.
The Burkina Babe defenders were smelling victory and went into a nap momentarily only for Abdullahi Abubakar of Nigeria who scored against South Africa to collect a pass from F. Daniel within the six yard box to ram into the net in the 64th minute. The scoreboard read BFA 2 Ngr 1.
The Burkina Faso team has their goalkeeper, Vitesse FC goaltender, Mohammed Isidore to thank as the young lad reminded one of Henry Car the Cat of Ghana who dives around like a cat clutching balls like babies. Isidore must have saved like a dozen goals Nigeria would have scored. Surely their Head Coach, Brehima Traore will buy the 16 year old boy Sharwarma that boys love tomorrow afternoon.
Unlucky Nigerian players played their hearts out in the last 15 minutes but the goals refused to come making them walk off the field like a motherless child a long way from home. Tension overtook almost everybody including and especially Nigerian coaches when I visited their sight in the dying minutes of the game. Many of them who were hoping for a Draman miracle for beloved Nduka Ugbade will need to check their blood pressure at the nearest clinic. The match became another history in Nigerian annals.
One of the factors of this encounter is the missing out of Ousmane Camara the outstanding Midfielder of Burkina Faso who had to miss facing Nigeria because he bagged two yellow cards at the group stage and CAF had to warn Burkina Faso not to field him against Nigeria or the Burkina babes will face outright disqualification.
Of Note is the Nigerian Coach, Uduka Ugbade born 6th September 1969 now 53 years old and 1.72 meters (5ft 8ins) tall who had the grace to lift the maiden trophy as Captain of Nigeria’s U18 then beating Germany 2-0 in the finals at China 85. I covered the match then. The highest goal scorer in that tournament with 6 goals was Bella Momoh who lived in Abadina, University of Ibadan like me but now resides in America.
Ugbade played U20 for Nigeria in the great Darman Miracle of 1989 and also for the Super Eagles between 1992 – 1994 but missed Atlanta Senior World Cup 94 by injury. Ugbade was Assistant Coach of U17 teams from 2011 to 2013 winning Silver at CAF U17 in Morocco 2013 losing to Ivory Coast 5-4 on penalties after 1-1 draw at full time and proceeded to the World Cup final same year at UAE to win the world Cup for the second time in his life. He is ambitious to win the World Cup for the third time in his life.
Nigeria truly is seeking the 8th semifinal appearance in the CAF tournament from 1995 when the ownership of the trophy was changed. Nigeria won the World Cup in 1985; 1993; 2007, 2013 and 2015 making the best record from Africa. At the CAF level, Nigeria won at Seychelles 2001 beating Burkina Faso 3-0; piped Togo at home in 2007 final 1-0 for the two wins. Nigeria won the Silver twice in 1995 in Mali with a 1-3 loss to Ghana and 2013in Morocco 4-5 on penalties after 1-1 at full time to Ivory Coast. Nigeria won Bronze at Swaziland 2003beating Egypt 3-1 but placed 4th twice at Niger Republic 2015 losing to Guinea 1-3 and at Tanzania 2019 losing to Angola 1-2.
Burkina Faso won once at Rwanda 2011 beating Rwanda 2-1. She lost to Nigeria 1-3 at Seychelles in 2001 in the finals; won the Bronze in Algeria in 2009 beating Malawi 2-0.
Nigeria and Burkina Faso met at the WAFU final to qualify for this competition on 24th August 2022 in Ghana which Nigeria won 2-1. On 3rd September 2018 Nigeria lost to Burkina Faso 2-3 and on 15th January 2021 Nigeria beat BFA 1-0.
In Algeria 2023 Nigeria had defeated Zambia 1-0; lost to Algeria 0-1 and beating South Africa in a remarkable comeback 3-2. Nigeria made 6 points with Morocco but lost the top place in the group due to goals difference scoring 4 goals and conceding 3.Nigeria had a good 81 shots at goal with 21 on target; stringed fantastic 457.3 passes a sign for opponents to fear; but committed 43 fouls with 2 yellow cards and 16 corner kicks meaning that Nigeria does not play a gentleman’s game, they perhaps follow the Law of Moses – AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. The defenders do not take nonsense perhaps because Ugbade their coach was a stout defender in his playing days.
Burkina Faso scored 2 goals and conceded 2 showing a week defence; the only win was a 2-1 victory against Lions of Cameroon. They had 31 shots at goal with 9 on target; The 283 passes they made when mathematically converted is 141.5 for the 2 matches which is less than a converted 152.4 of Nigeria.
The Semifinals slating are for Sunday 14th May when Senegal will meet Burkina Faso at 1700 hours at Constantine and then Morocco will meet Mali at Annaba at 2000 hours same day.
Eniola Olatunji reporting for Patmos Media Line.