The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have qualified for next year’s U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria, after defeating Côte d’Ivoire 3-1 in the first semi-final of the WAFU B tournament in Ghana.
Two well taken free-kicks from Emmanuel Michael in the first half and a second half header off Abdullahi Idris, earned coach Nduka Ugbade and his side their third consecutive win at the regional tournament.
The Eaglets will now face either Ghana or Burkina Faso in the final billed for Friday, 24 June.
The Eaglets got off to a poor start as Côte d’Ivoire opened scoring in the second minute from the penalty spot through Yan Diomandi.
Following a clumsy tackle on Diomandi inside the box, the referee pointed to the spot with the scorer sending the Eaglets keeper the wrong way.
In the 31st minute the Eaglets equalized thanks to a free-kick from Michael, whose effort close to the corner flag slipped past the Ivorian keeper.
Michael then made it 2-1 on 43 minutes from another free-kick this time from a central position, which beat the Ivorian wall before nestling into the back of the net.
Idris then made it 3-1 in the 61st minute as he rose highest to head in a swung in free-kick with the keeper stranded.
With 13 minutes left the Eaglets were awarded another free-kick but this time Michael’s attempt went narrowly wide.
In the 86th minute a beautiful team play from the Eaglets set up Precious Williams with a clear chance, but his effort went inches off target.