This fairy tale story had to come to and end at some point and it did on Sunday night when Nigeria’s golden eaglets were humbled 1-0 by Switzerland in Abuja.
Nigeria who were looking to emulate their west African counterparts Ghana who won the U-20 World Cup in Egypt in October however had to taste the bitter pill of defeat in their own home stadium.
I have to say Switzerland really looked the better of the two sides and although the defending champs were felled by just a single goal, the Swiss win was a truly deserved one. Nigeria however, did not leave the tournament empty handed. Their star striker Sani Emmanuel received the golden boot award for emerging top scorer in the three week tournament.
It was a weekend of mixed emotions in Nigeria as their senior side the Super Eagles managed to qualify for the World cup after beating a resilient Kenya 3-2 in a highly entertaining match at the Moi International Sports Stadium Kasarani in Nairobi. Wolfsburg striker Obafemi Martins scored a brace to ensure the super eagles clinched the solitary ticket in group b.
Swizterland ‘s victory was their in a major tournament since 1925, imagine that! They managed to remain come in the face of over 60,000 Fans who were supporting Nigeria, the pressure never once unsettling them. Nigeria on the other hand came into the match with an impressive record. The golden eaglets had never lost a FIFA U-17 match since 2003. With so match at stake for both nations, it was bound to be an entertaining match.
However, it is important to note that Nigeria had a host of chances in which they could have either equalized or won the match but it was just not going to be their night. Luck seemed to have deserted them at their deepest time of need. Some might argue and say that Stanley Okoro cost the golden eaglets a chance to write their names in the history books by his persistent selfish acts of not passing the ball to his tame-mates but after all has been said, Switzerland made the best of their opportunities and it paid off when Haris Seferovic nodded in a header from a corner kick deep in the second half.
With the conclusion of this tournament, we now turn our eyes to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. There is reason to believe that Africa will do pretty well in this event may be perhaps even win it. 207 days is what is left until South Africa opens its doors to the world and the next potential champion. Who will it be?