Golden Eaglets make history as the winners of 2013 FIFA Under 17 finals

November 8, 2013 9:22 pm0 comments by:

yesNigeria Under-17 team beat their Mexico counterparts in final of the 2013 FIFA Under -17 World Cup UAE 2013. They claimed the title and thus made history as the most successful nation in the Under-17 Category. This is the fourth time of winning the title since its inception in 1985.

The competition then named under -16 were held in China and Nigeria beat West Germany two nil in a tense affair. Sebastian Broderick’s 1985 side showed  traits exhibited by the current 2013 team. They had the technical skill, attacking trait, finishing touch, creativity and quick players to go with the tactical ability of the Coach Manu Garba. The only difference between the 1985 team and 2013 team is that current team showed their class right from the first match.

The Golden Eaglets started with 6-1 drumming of Mexico, who eventually recovered to reach final. The second group match against Sweden (who they met again in the Semi Final) ended in a draw. It was a tough match for the Nigerian team, as they were trailing 2-1 at half time and then later in the second half. It took a substitute Taiwo Awoniyi, who replaced Isaac Success in first half to draw level 3-3 in 81st minute. Taiwo Awoniyi showed his finishing quality with a double against Uruguay in the Quarter final.

In the final group game against Iraq, Golden Eaglets were back with a master class in finishing. They put 5 goals past the Iraq Under-17 team and this is on backdrop of 9 shots at goal. The goals scored by Musa
Muhammed,Chidiebere Nwakali, Musa Yahaya and finally by Chigozi Obasi showed not only strength in depth but the attacking trait all over the team.

As the group F winners, they met Iran runners up in group E in Round 16. It was another show of attacking strength, with a 4-1 score result. The match against Uruguay proved to be the most difficult, since the draw against Sweden. It started in typical fashion to previous matches.

Nigeria started brightly and took the lead in the 18th minute of the match. Taiwo Awoniyi started in place of Isaac Success, who was injured against a previous difficult match against Sweden. He latched on a wonderful through ball from Kelechi Ihenacho. Kelechi was the most creative influence in the Nigerian team and scored 5 goals. The two players combined in the 79th minute to put away Uruguay.

This quarter final match also showed the quality of the Nigerian Goal Keeper Dele Alampasu. He played in all the matches and in 630 minutes conceded 5 goals. The 3 goals were in the one match against Sweden and 1 each against Iran and Mexico. Dele was the calming influence for the defence and kept a clean sheet in 4 matches. The importance of his quality was also evident in the Semi Final against Sweden.

Nigeria took early lead in the Semi Final, similar to the Quarter Final and later in the Finals. However, there was a long period in between the first goal and the second goal. During this period, the opposition pushed forward looking to draw level. This made Nigeria to withstand a few goal threats, play on counter attack and rely on the Goal Keeper to save any slips.

Nigeria scored the second in the second half, after a succession of attacking plays from Uruguay. This pattern also occurred in the Semi Finals against Sweden and later in the Finals against Mexico. In the semi final, it was Taiwo Awoniyi who scored first goal and then defenders Samuel Okon in the 80th and forward player Chidera Ezeh in the 81th minute.

The final against Mexico was unexpected for most analysts. This was even after Mexico qualified from the group stages. They lost 6-1 to Nigeria in the first group match. They had to meet Brazil in the Quarter final, who showed their title potential in previous 4 matches. In the group phase, they won all 3 matches scoring 15 goals and conceding 2 goals.

However, it was a tight affair between Brazil and Mexico in the quarter final. The match ended in a draw after extra time and went into penalties with Mexico winning 11 -10. Therefore, Nigeria went into the final as favorites against Mexico. It started with a Nigeria showing attacking intent and took lead in the 9th minute through an own goal.

Nigeria continued the attacking intent with Musa Muhammed playing a captain’s display and kelechi Iheanacho looking a likely scorer. He eventually scored in the 56th minute. He bounced on a shot that the Mexican Keeper Gudino simply parried in front of 6 yard box.

Then, Musa capped a wonderful match with the moment of the match and possibly of the tournament. He curled a free kick in top left corner. This was the moment that the Nigerian team, opposition team and their fans knew Nigeria have won the Final. Thus, made history as best nation in FIFA Under-17 Team.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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