NIGERIA’S U-17 national team, the Golden Eaglets, early this morning at the Estadio Sausalito, Vina del Mar, Chile, brought down Mali’s Les Aiglonnets by two unreplied goals to emerge world champions for a record fifth time.
Second half strikes from Victor Osimhen (56th minute) and Funsho Bamgboye (59th minute) were all the Eaglets needed to successfully defend the title which they won two years ago in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Eaglets had before the final won the trophy a record four times, a feat that makes Nigeria the number one soccer playing nation at the cadet level.
Mali featured in the Chile tournament as African champions, having won the African U-17 Nations Cup in Niamey, Niger Republic early this year.
The nation’s number one citizen, President Muhammadu Buhari had before the final match called the Golden Eaglets via Skype and urged the team to do the country proud.
Buhari who was full of praise for the players commended them for their fighting spirit and determination to do the country proud out there in Chile.
The President had reminded the Emmanuel Amuneke tutored lads that they won the trophy for the first time 30 years ago when he was the nation’s military ruler, insisting that they must re enact the historic feat now that he is on the saddle as civilian president.
Nigeria won the maiden edition of the tournament which was then known as the Kodak/JVC FIFA U -16 Cup way back in 1985 with Buhari as the country’s military Head of State. Nigeria had after that historic feat gone ahead to win the trophy in 1993 (Japan), 2007 (Korea) and 2013 in UAE.
Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday also sent a good will message to the Falconets for qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World slated for Papua New Guinea next year, even as he gave a pat on
the back to Wellington Jighere, a Nigerian who has emerged World Scrabble Champion, the first ever from Africa. Buhari conveyed his congratulatory message in a telephone conversation with Jighere, who performed the historic feat in far away, Perth, Australia.
Jighere, 36, defeated Lewis Mackay of Cambridge, England, by 448 points to 426 to win the championship which was competed for by 450 players from around the world.
“I called to rejoice with you over your performance. You have done the country proud, and we are very happy. Please, pass my congratulations to other members of Team Nigeria,” Buhari told Jighere. Jighere was delighted at the phone call from the President, and
pledged to bring more glory to his fatherland.
Buhari also congratulated the Under-20 female football team, the Falconets, who have qualified for the Women’s World Cup Tournament after beating the Basetsana of South Africa by a lone goal in an away game.
The Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina in a statement noted that the Falconets had walked a tight rope after scraping just a 2-1 win over South Africa in Nigeria two weeks ago.
“This is a clear case of the indomitable Nigerian spirit. Such will soon be evident in all aspects of our national life,” President Buhari stated.