WAFU B: Narrow third-place victory secures U-17 AFCON spot for Golden Eaglets

The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria will participate in the 2025 AFCON tournament in Ghana after they defeated the Ghanaians in their WAFU B third-place clash, reports.

Nigeria lost to Ivory Coast in the semi-final of the WAFU-B tournament, leading to a third-place clash against Ghana.

Stung by the words of NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the Eaglets took to the field with a winner’s mentality and took the lead in the 9th minute when Imrana Muhammad lashed the ball into the net after a goalmouth scramble.

Home support at the University of Accra Stadium gingered the Black Starlets into action, and they equalized 10 minutes later when a Nigerian defender unwittingly put the ball into his goal.

Three-time world champions Ghana took the lead for the first time in the game in the 27th minute when Harve Gbafa profited from a defensive blunder to beat goalkeeper Dominic Chinedu in goal for Nigeria.

Six minutes later, Abdulmuiz Adeleke, who got a brace in the Eaglets’ 3-0 defeat of Togo in their final group phase match, rattled Starlets’ goalkeeper Michael Armah, but the ball was cleared out of danger.

The Eaglets were unrelenting, and four minutes before half-time, Adeleke took his tournament tally to three when he nodded in the equalizer from a pull-out by John Ogwuche.

Both teams started the second period where they left off at halftime, with delightful attacking football. Ogwuche’s rebound missed the target in the 79th minute.

In the second minute of added time, and with both teams appearing to be thinking of the inevitable penalty shootout, Adeleke took matters into his own hands and netted the winner for Nigeria to secure a place at next year’s continental finals.

Abdulmuiz Adeleke’s impressive brace, along with a goal from Imrana Muhammed, ensured Manu Garba’s boys clinched a well-deserved third-place finish, securing the bronze medals alongside booking a place at next year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations after a hard-fought 3-2 defeat of hosts Ghana at the WAFU B U17 Championship on Tuesday.

For several days now, there has been opacity around the number of teams proceeding to the 2025 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations from the tournament in Ghana. Still, the window opened for the third-place winner here when, minutes to kick-off, Cote d’Ivoire (already in the competition final), was designated as hosts of next year’s continental finals.

With Cote d’Ivoire as hosts and guaranteed a slot, Burkina Faso (no matter the result of the final match) and the third-place winner in the earlier game of the final day, were assured of berths in Abidjan.

The Confederation of African Football earlier today, announced Ivory Coast as the host country for the 2025 U-17 African Cup of Nations tournament.