All is now set for the final match of the FIFA U17 World Cup which pitches the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria; the world’s defending champion in this cadre against the Malian side who are the reigning African champions.
Indeed, both Nigeria and Mali are worthy finalists having put up commendable displays thus far and for neutrals either of the two teams are good enough to take home the trophy in the second all-African finals in the history of the cadet championship.
Nigeria Coach, Emmanuel Amuneke already submits that the final contest is a good advertisement for African football.
On Sunday, the two West African sides will clash at the Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar in what is only the second –ever All-African final, since Nigeria and Ghana clashed in Japan 22 years ago, with the Eaglets winning 2-1.
Both Nigeria and Mali have flown the continent’s flag with pride en route to Sunday’s final and Amuneke enthused it would be a great day for African football yet again in Vina del Mar.
“African football has developed over the years and playing against Mali in the final of Chile 2015 shows that Africa is strong at this level,” Amuneke noted at the post match conference in Concepción after Golden Eaglets’ 4-2 win over Mexico.
The Golden Eaglets had in the run-up enjoyed favourable results at Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar where they crushed Chile 5-1 in their second group phase match, annihilated Australia 6-0 in the second round and battered Brazil 3-0 in the quarter final.
“On Sunday, we would give a good account of ourselves in Vina del Mar which has been a good venue for us,” the former Barcelona winger explained.”The fans all over Chile have been friendly but we have a special feeling playing in Vina del Mar where we have many fans.”
Going into Sunday’s final, expectations are high so say the least, as everybody that matters in football in the country has been charging the Eaglets to complete the good work they have started; by winning their fifth U17 World Cup in Chile.
President Buhari, The NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu are some of the personalities that have charged the Eaglets to get the job done against their West African foes.
With four wins (1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013), Nigeria has the record of triumphs in the global cadet championship. Victory over Mali in a sumptuous all-African final in Chile’s tourist destination, Vina del Mar, will take Nigeria’s wins to five, followed by Brazil with three.