WORLD champions, Golden Eaglets of Nigeria, Sunday defeated hosts, Niger Republic 2-0 in Niamey, to set the tone for a victorious outing at the 2015 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Under-17 Championship.
The opening game of the competition, watched by a mammoth crowd of home supporters and a sprinkling of Nigerians, saw the Golden Eaglets opening their account in the 18th minute through Victor Osimhen, while Captain Kelechi Nwakali’s beautiful free-kick from outside the box silenced the home fans in an entertaining opener at the Stade Seyni Kountche in Niamey.
The hosts went closer with Souradjou Alhassane just before the break but could not test Nigeria’s goalkeeper Akpan Udoh.
In the second half, the Nigeriens rallied to try and get back in the game with striker Ibrahim Issoufou the main threat but the Eaglets were resolute at the back and held on to collect maximum points and pile pressure on the debutant hosts, who now face a ‘must-win’ clash against Zambia in their second Group A fixture.
The opening match was preceded by a colourful ceremony depicting Niger’s history, culture and song and traditions. It was attended by the host republican president, Mahamadou Issoufou, CAF president, Issa Hayatou, Executive Committee of CAF and members of the Organizing Committee of the championship.