Flying Eagles of Nigeria defeated Benin 3-1 to lift this year’s WAFU B U20 Championship played at the Stade General Seyni Kountchéin, Niamey on Friday night.
Having booked their place at the AFCON in Egypt next year, Ladan Bosso’s boys came into the final against neighbours Benin Republic in search of glory in Niger.
Bosso kept faith with the same side that defeated Ivory Coast in the semi-final, with Oluwatosin Adegbite and Bolu Sholumade continuing their partnership at the heart of the defence, while Daniel Daga, who was the MOTM against the Young Elephants, positioned behind Aminu Mohammed and Samson Lawal in midfield.
The Young Squirrels started brightly and were dominating the early exchanges as the Nigerians struggled to get hold of the ball. However, they were unable to test goalkeeper Ikechukwu Nwosu during their period of dominance.
Meanwhile, Nigeria embarked on a rare attack in the game and they were rewarded with a penalty. Ojo Tolulope’s attempt was adjudged to have struck the arm of the defender; the defender was sent off and Tolulope fired into the bottom corner from 12 yards to hand Nigeria the lead.
With a man advantage, Nigeria continued to keep the ball and dominate proceedings, while waiting for their opponents to commit men forward and in the process punish them.
However, Tolulope had other ideas as he picked the ball up about 25 yards from goal, before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner to increase his side’s lead in the 70th minute. Seven minutes later, Ibrahim Muhammad capitalized on the goalkeeper’s error to make it 3-0 for his side.
The Benin side found a consolation goal in the 84th minute, but the deed had been done as Nigeria held on to walk away with the title in Niger. Earlier, Burkina Faso defeated Ivory Coast 2-0 in the loser’s final to finish in third place.
Both Nigeria and Benin Republic will represent WAFU B zone at the 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Egypt.