Nigeria and Ghana will rekindle a 67-year rivalry when the Golden Eaglets take on the Black Starlets of Ghana in Niamey on Saturday for a place in the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations finals.
The Eaglets kept their heads and did the hard work they had to do when defeating host nation Niger Republic 2-1 in a very competitive match at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey on Wednesday evening, to set up a mouth-watering final with the Black Starlets, three-time winners of the global championship.
It was sweet revenge for the five-time world champions as the Nigeriens knocked out the Eaglets from the 2017 Africa U17 finals on a 3-2 aggregate, when the home-and-away leg contests still held sway.
Following a tinkling of the old format, countries in each of Africa’s six football regions now gather in one venue to take part in a qualifying tournament, with only the winning team eligible for the final tournament, save the region of the defending champion that produces two.
Akinwumi Amoo set Manu Garba’s wards on their way with a fine finish from a pull out in the 45th minute, and Olakunle Oluwasegun, who had scored a brace in the 2-3 defeat to Burkina Faso in their opening match and another in the 5-1 mauling of Cote d’Ivoire last week, made the scoreline comfortable with another magnificent strike two minutes before the hour.
The home team pulled a goal back late on but the Nigerian boys held on, and the reward is a potentially-explosive final against Ghana, who had earlier defeated Cote d’Ivoire in the first semi final at the same venue.
Oluwasegun was named man of the match.
The finals of the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations will hold in Tanzania.