Abuja, Nigeria – (African Boulevard News) – Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets have thrown away their chance to play in the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup after a narrow defeat to Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals of the CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday.
The Eaglets, who have won the tournament five times, came into the game as favorites against their Burkinabe counterparts. However, they failed to capitalize on their possession and conceded two goals against the run of play.
In the opening minutes of the first half, the Eaglets were awarded a penalty following a foul on Peter Olawale inside the box. However, the Burkinabe goalkeeper, Mohamed Traore, produced a fantastic save to deny Nigeria an early lead.
Burkina Faso took the lead instead, in the 17th minute, after a mistake by Nigeria’s goalkeeper, David Okoro, who failed to deal with a long-range effort from Issoufou Juvenal. The Eaglets continued to push for an equalizer, but their efforts were thwarted by a resolute Burkina Faso defense.
The second half began with Nigeria piling on the pressure on Burkina Faso, and they were finally rewarded in the 72nd minute when Olawale scored a brilliant goal from outside the box, which left the Burkinabe goalkeeper with no chance.
However, their joy was short-lived as Burkina Faso restored their lead just five minutes later through their captain, Ismael Traore, who scored a spectacular goal from a free-kick outside the box. Despite late pressure from the Eaglets, Burkina Faso held on to secure a historic victory.
The defeat was a major upset for Nigeria, who had been tipped as one of the favorites to win the tournament. It also means the Eaglets will miss out on the opportunity to represent Africa at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will be hosted by Peru.
In an interview after the match, Nigeria’s coach, Fatai Amoo, expressed his disappointment with the defeat but praised Burkina Faso for their performance. He said, “We are disappointed with the result, but we have to give credit to Burkina Faso. They played well and took their chances. We will go back to the drawing board and prepare for our next assignment.”
The defeat means the Eaglets will have to wait until the next edition of the tournament to try and regain their crown. It is a bitter pill to swallow for Nigerians, who had high hopes for the team. However, as the saying goes, it is not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up.