Nigeria and Cote d’ Ivoire clash in the CAF U-17 final

Nigeria and Cote d’ Ivoire clash in the CAF U-17 final
26 April 2013 08:46

The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria face Cote d’ Ivoire in the final match of  CAF U-17 Morocco Telecom Championship to be played in Marrakech on Saturday. Cote d’ Ivore is the only team to have beaten Nigeria so far at the finals taking place in Morocco and the Nigerians have made it no secret that the defeat is still fresh in their minds and they are seeking redemption come Saturday. The Baby Elephants for their part have said, they will not dwell on what happened in the Group B match (which they won 1-0) but will approach the new match with a mindset for victory. Nigeria last won the title in 2007 while Cote d’ Ivoire is assured of its best ever finish at the U-17 finals regardless of the final score. Up until the Ivorians beat host Morocco to reach the final the best they had achieved before was a third place in the 2005 edition.It has been described by many as Nigeria’s second chance at beating and avenging the earlier defeat to their fellow West Africans but some Nigerians among them Paul Bassey (a CAF committee member ) warned against an approach laden with revenge. “Yes Nigeria would like to win and set the record straight after the earlier defeat but you need cool heads to go about that and not been too bent on a revenge mission but aim to do what you do best and win the game as just another game” Bassey said Baby Elephants’ defence which has been mean at this tournament will need to repeat their sterling work to keep out the most deadly strike-force at the tournament. The meanest defence versus the sharpest strikers is the main plot then for the final but the Ivorians though not as frequent scorers as the Nigerians a have a mobile midfield and in Dogbole Niangbo who scored only on when these two sides last met, they have a poacher of top quality ably assisted up front t by Chris Bile Bedia. Then there is the threat from the dribbling wizard in Junior Ahissan who plies the wings interchangeably tormenting defenders.Many thought Nigeria had approached their last meeting with some complacency hence losing that tie and such a lot believe; the Golden Eaglets cannot repeat that error. Nigeria coach Manu Garba told Cafonline.com his team have an opportunity to write the past wrongs when they play the Ivorians, "They beat us in the group match and we know what we did wrong but also belief it was the destiny of that game but come Saturday our wish to put it right has been granted and we want to make sure we turn the tables on the Ivorians and win the title" said Garba. The Nigeria pair of Success Isaac and Kelechi Iheanacho has notched twelve goals between them and in the highly unlikely event that they don’t score, in Musa Yahaya, Ifeanyi Mathew and Bernard Bulbwa they have goal-getters too. The last meeting between the two sides was not devoid of chances but settled on how clinical the finishing was, as coach Garba put it, “ In that first match against Cote d’ Ivoire we were unlucky not to score from the numerous chances we created , come Saturday we want to be sharper and more accurate with our chances” 

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