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Nigeria held to goalless draw in WAFU Zone B U-17 title defence


Nigeria’s U-17 side, the Golden Eaglets, began their WAFU Zone B U-17 Cup of Nations title defence with a disappointing goalless draw against Burkina Faso on Thursday (16 May).

The match played at the University of Ghana Stadium in Accra, Ghana, saw both teams struggle to convert chances in a tight encounter.

Newly appointed coach Manu Garba, who took the helm a month before the tournament, was unable to guide his young charges to a winning start.

The match was a cagey affair, mirroring the close contest between the two sides in the 2022 WAFU Zone B U-17 Cup of Nations final, which Nigeria won.

Neither side managed a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity in the first half. The closest the Eaglets came was in the 24th minute when captain Simon Cletus found midfielder Abdulmuiz Oladimeji with a defence-splitting pass, but Oladimeji failed to find the target.

The second half saw an increase in attacking intent from both sides. Burkina Faso threatened early on with a free kick from the edge of the area, but the Burkinabes were unable to convert.

Nigeria responded with their chances, with forward Imrana Muhammad and Cletus both going close but failing to beat the Burkina Faso goalkeeper.

The Eaglets’ defence, marshalled by Boluwatife Ekishola, who made a crucial block in the 71st minute, held firm throughout the match.

However, with a minute remaining, Nigeria were denied a dramatic winner when their shot hit the woodwork.

The result leaves Group B wide open, with all teams still in contention for qualification to the knockout stages.

The Golden Eaglets will be looking to bounce back when they face Niger in their second group match on Sunday (19 May).

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