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Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets lifted the FIFA U-17 Trophy after reigning champions against Mexico 3-0 in a thrilling encounter in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. On top of being crowned champions for a record 4th time, the team also scooped the Fair-Play Award. The goalkeeper also received the Golden Glove, for his exemplary goalkeeping.
The game started with Mexico maintaining a strong possession of the ball, but only 9 minutes into the first half, a counterstrike by the Nigerians saw a Mexican defender head the ball into his own net, and that was the only goal for the remainder of the first half. Despite, several attempts, the Mexicans were unable to find the Nigerians’ net, instead conceding two more goals in the second half.
The two teams had met before, in the group stages where they bashed Mexico 6 goals to 1. This campaign is certainly to be ranked among the best ever, as the team didn’t lose a single game. They won 6 of the 7 games played, drawing in 1. Even though they conceded 5 goals in the tournament, they scored 26.
Following this victory, the Nigerian U-17 is now the most successful of all time, having also won in 1985, 1993 and 2007. It has been a runners-up on 3 occasions; 1987, 2001 and 2009.
This wraps up a good year in football for Nigeria, as the senior team, the Super Eagles, began the year by clinching the Africa Cup of Nations in January, and are in all likelihood assured of a slot in next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The Female U-17 team (the Flamingos) are also on their way to glory in next year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup, to be held in Costa Rica.
By Matengo Chwanya