Nigeria’s U20 boys, Flying Eagles, on Friday night defeated the Young Squirrels of Benin Republic 3-1 in the final of the WAFU B U20 Championship in Niamey, capital of Niger Republic to emerge champions of West Africa B Zone.
Tolulope Ojo set Nigeria on the path to victory in the 38th minute with a marvellous goal at the Stade General Seyni Kountché.
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Ojo, who plays his club football for Ikenne-based Remo Stars FC, made it two for Nigeria in the 62nd minute as the Beninoise began to see the handwriting clearly on the wall.
Ibrahim Muhammad, a Nigerian forward who plays for Maikunkele FC, made it 3-0 with 16 minutes to go when he cleverly won the ball as the Beninoise goalkeeper tried to launch an attack, and then heaved the ball over the goalie’s head.
Benin Republic scored a consolation goal minutes to the end of the game. Benin Republic won their Group A which included host nation Niger Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, before edging Burkina Faso in the first semi-final on Tuesday.
Nigeria, seven-time African champions, were worthy winners of the trophy. They started their campaign with a 2-0 spanking of tournament title holders and continental champions, Ghana, before a 2-2 draw with Burkina Faso that took them to the last four. In the semi-finals, they were stretched to the limit by an Ivorian team with a blistering pace and superb turn but edged the tie 2-1 after extra time.
Nigeria and Benin Republic will fly the WAFU B zone’s flag at the 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Egypt.