Ivory Coast defeated defending champions Nigeria 3-2 to win the West African Football Union B tournament at the Stade de Kégué, Togo yesterday night.
Sindou Kone, Abdrumane Konate and Seydou Traore gave the Baby Elephants a three-goal lead before two late goals from substitute Ahmed Abdulahi ensured a nervy finish for the Ivorians in Lome.
Ivory Coast, who had defeated the Golden Eaglets 1-0 in the group stage of the championship, started the game on the front foot and were by far the better side of the teams from the kick-off.
Eaglets goalkeeper, Destiny Emuwahen, was forced to make a fine save in the 10th minute following a fine passing game from the Ivorians. Five minutes later, he was beaten by a fine header from Sindou, who jumped highest to nod in a fine cross from a corner kick.
Abdrumane made it 2-0 for Ivory Coast 13 minutes into the restart, with Eaglets coach Fatai Amoo responding with three quick substitutions as he brought on Ahmed for Chijioke Osuji, Samson Ogunmola for Samuel Akere, with Emmanuel Papo, who grabbed the winner against Burkina Faso in the semi-finals, replaced by Oluwatomiwa Kolawole.
Substitute Seydou scored the third goal of the night for the Ivorians in the 84th minute to put the game out of the reach of the Eaglets.
However, two late goals from Ahmed in added time gave the Eaglets a lifeline, but it was too little too late as the Baby Elephants held on to claim the trophy.
Despite the loss, the Eaglets are through to the 2021 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in July, where the top four teams at the tournament will qualify for the 2021 U-17 World Cup in Peru, as Africa’s representatives.
The coach Fatai Amao led team recorded just one win in four games, a performance they will be hoping to improve on at the U-17 AFCON.