Again, History Beckons On Golden Eaglets
As Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup Ends
IN 1985, Nigeria won the maiden FIFA cadet championship in China when President Muhammadu Buhari was the military Head of State.
On return from the tournament, Buhari hosted the victorious players and their officials at the Dodan Barracks in Lagos, where he tagged the team Golden Eaglets.
Thirty years on, the Eaglets are gunning for their fifth title in Chile and the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, says it would be interesting to see the boys beat their fellow African brothers, Mali, in today’s final. The NFF boss wants the crown, which Nigeria won two years ago in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to return to the Presidential Villa in Abuja, where Buhari is waiting to receive it.
“It would be interesting to see the Golden Eaglets win this title a record fifth time, especially for our President,” Pinnick said in a chat with The Guardian from the team’s camp in Chile yesterday.
Before their exploit at UAE 2013, the Golden Eaglets had won the title at Korea 2007 under the tutelage of late coach Yemi Tella.
Today’s final against Mali will hold at Estadio Sausailto, Vina del Mar, at 1900 local time (11pm Nigerian time), and all eyes will be on Nigeria to extend its record to five titles. Also, attention of many soccer fans around the globe will be on Golden Eaglets star, Victor Osimhen, who will be looking to set the tournament’s goals record.
The Nigerian got his ninth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot in Thursday’s semi against Mexico, thus equaling the previous record by Sinima Pongolle of France in 2001 and Soulemany Coulibaly of Cote d’Ivoire also in 2011.
Today’s final is the second all-African FIFA U-17 World Cup final since Japan ‘93, when the Golden Eaglets beat Ghana 2-1 to win their second title.
Meanwhile, Coach Emmanuel Amuneke is expecting a good fight from the opponents. “The Malians are the African champions and we have to respect them.”