The die is cast for the semi final of the U17 WAFU B Championship with the brackets sorted and pairings determined.
Nigeria had long booked its place in the final four of the Championship, following a perfect winning record in the group stages.
After the 4-2 victory over hosts Ghana in the opening Group A game, the Golden Eaglets showed consistency in the second game, winning 3-1 against the Young Sparrowhawks of Togo.
In Group B Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast emerged as the top two teams, the latter recorded a perfect run in three games and finished with maximum points.
On their part, Ivory Coast only barely made it on goal difference to beat Benin Republic and Niger Republic to the Runner-up spot – all three picked up 3 points each.
Therefore, the Young Elephants will now face group A winners, Nigeria, in the first semi final at the Cape Coast Stadium, while Ghana battles the Championship’s most in form team later on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s head Coach Nduka Ugbade predicted a repeat of the group stage meeting with Ghana in the final.
Ugbade praised the ‘doggedness’ of the Black Starlets in the first meeting, and controversially suggested his team was lucky to have come away with a win.
Ghana had assembled a new squad with just two weeks to the opening game of the competition after a bulk of their team were disqualified for failing the MRI test.
In the post match conference, after the win, Ugbade – a former U17 World Cup winner himself – stressed how much respect he had for the Ghanaian team.
When asked for his thoughts on the Starlets, He predicted a rematch.
“I think that Nigeria will likely play Ghana again in the final,” Ugbade told reporters.
The U17 WAFU B Championship serves as qualification for the 2023 U17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria and three teams will proceed to the tournament proper.
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