Nigeria’s Under-17 team, Golden Eaglets, were beaten 2-1 by Gabon on Sunday in their Final Round-First Leg 2015 African Under-17 Championship qualifier at the Stade Augustin Monedan de Sibang.
Victor Osimhen gave the Golden Eaglets an early fourth minute goal while the home side levelled up through Moubouhy Ngouba in the 26th minute and Maomikolo Boundembi scored the winner in the 80th minute of an engrossing match -that saw Osimhen getting a ‘questionable’ red card from Central African Republic referee, Jean Marc Ganamandji in the 70th minute.
“The boys gave their best under the circumstances that we found ourselves especially the difficult travelling arrangement which caused fatigue especially in the second half,” explained Coach Emmanuel Amuneke. “But with all sense of responsibility, the officiating of this match was poor but we have to put this behind us and focus on the second leg.
“From what we have seen, we would have came out with a better result if we had taken our chances in the first half but we can get better at home ,” he stated.
The Golden Eaglets actually started the game well as Osimhen grabbed the curtain raiser in the 4th minute when he pushed the ball beyond the reach of the Gabonese goalkeeper off a pullout from Kehinde Ayinde. They could have increased the tally thereafter but poor marksmanship in front of the Gabonese goal robbed them of such opportunities.
The Gabonese, however, got their equalizer through Moubouhy Ngouba following a free kick in the 26th minute after referee Ganamandji made a foul call on goalkeeper Amos Benjamin.
Yet Golden Eaglets’ captain Kelechi Nwakali as well as Ayinde and Promise Orji failed to convert the opportunities that came their way as the first half dragged to an end. There were few chances in between in the second half and referee Ganamandji turned out to be a kill joy when he gave Osimhen a red card in the 70th minute for a spurious offence- albeit after a yellow card in the 55th minute.
Ten minutes later, Maomikolo Boundembi scored the winner for the Gabonese when he pounced on the ball after a defensive slip up to bury the ball behind Benjamin yet again.