The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria ‘sneaked’ into the last four of the African U-17 tournament yesterday, thanks to the Baby Elephants of Ivory Coast, who defeated the Black Starlets of Ghana 3-1 in their last Group B in Togo.
The Nigerian team, led by coach Fatai Amoo, had put themselves in tight corner by losing 0-1 to Cote d’Ivoire in their first game before playing 1-1 with Ghana.
Since then, many football-loving Nigerians began to pray for the Baby Elephants to beat Ghana with a two-goal margin. The Ivoiriens responded in a big way yesterday by triumphing 3-1, a result, which sent the Black Starlets of Ghana out of the championship.
Like the Golden Eaglets, the Ben Fokuo-led Ghanaian team recorded just a point after two games and needed a draw to seal passage to the last four.
Togolese referee Vicentia Eyonam Amedome was accused of denying Ghana three penalties yesterday. She denied the Black Starlets a penalty in the 32nd minute as the Ghanaian forward was fouled in the box after a late challenge from an Ivoiriens defender.
The Ivoiriens scored in the opening minutes of the first half through Arafat Doumbia as the first half ended 1-0 in their favour. Back from the break, the Ivoirien team extended their lead to 2-0 through Arafat Doumbia in the 49th.
Few minutes later, the Black Starlets pulled one back. Arafat Doumbia got his hat-trick as he scored from the spot to give the Baby Elephants a commanding 3-1 lead. (Guardian)