The Golden Eaglets, Nigeria U-17 team, have been crowned World Champions after defeating Mali 2-0 at the just concluded FIFA 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile.
The Most Valuable Player and the Golden Boot Player of the FIFA 2015 U-17 World Cup tournament, has been scooped by Kelechi Nwakali and Victor Osimhen respectively of the Golden Eaglets, the eventual winners, underscoring the quality and exploit of the team in Chile. Osimhen earned his award after scoring 10 goals to set a new world record of the highest goals scored in a single FIFA youth tournament.
Osimhen opened the scoring in the final match played between Nigeria U-17 and Mali U-17 after the first half of the encounter ended goalless. Funsho Bamgboye added another goal to seal the match for the reigning champions.
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Having successfully defended its crown, Nigeria has now joined Brazil as the second nation only to have achieved this feat after Brazil’s 1999.
Nigeria U-17 sprung a surprise by winning the tournament for the record fifth time due to the fact that they came fourth in the African Youth Championship held in Niger and only qualified for the FIFA mundial tournament behind the finalists, Mali, South Africa and Guinea. But at the end, the Golden Eaglets showed class and strength by banging 23 goals and conceding only five in the tournament to return the trophy back to Nigeria.
The Coach Emmanuel Amuneke-tutored side has now joined its predecessors of 1985, 1993, 2007, and 2013 sets to write their names in gold. Below is a chronicle of how the team took Chile by the storm:
The Golden Eaglets started the tournament on a bright note by spanking the USA Under-17 team with a 2-0 score line. The host nation, Chile, was the next victim to be put the sword. They succumbed to the mighty power and efficacy of the Golden Eaglets with the game ending 5-1.
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But the fortune of the Nigeria U-17 team took a dip in their last group game with Croatia where they suffered their only defeat in the tournament, and the Europeans triumphed 2-1. Nonetheless, the Eagles topped their group as leaders.
With leaps and bounds, the Eaglets grew from game to game and their quality was becoming visible to all. And the games that brought out their attacking prowess and announced their seriousness in contesting for the crown were the 6-0 drubbing of Australia in the last-16 encounter and the 3-0 win over the tournament’s otherwise favourites, Brazil, in the quarterfinals. After these games, hitherto recalcitrant Nigerian fans became ardent supporters.
In the semi-final encounter with Mexico, the Nigeria U-17 team suffered a scare earlier on but rallied from behind to win 4-2. The outcome of the match meant that the Eaglets were for a mouthwatering encounter with Mali and thus the stage was set for all African finals at the Estadio Sausalito stadium in Vina del Mar.
The Golden Eaglets were formally crowned world champions after they convincingly edged out the Mali U-17 team in the final game on Sunday November 8, 2015 with a 2-0 score line. Victor Osimhein was still the goal hero for the Nigerian team and the final encounter ensured that he scored against all teams of the championship.
Before the final whistle was blown, it was clear to all and sundry that Nigeria U-17 will eventually clinch the coveted trophy and successfully defended its crown. The team also received several individual awards. Notable youngsters of the Nigerian team are Osinachi Ebere, Chinedu Madueke, Udochukwu Anumudu and Funsho Bamgboye.
The FIFA 2015 U-17 World Cup has come and gone and the winners are in cloud nine celebrating their feats. The tournament’s hitherto underdogs are today worthy champions who awed and conquered the world!