Nigeria Can Win FIFA Youth Tourney Again —Anyaoku

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Although, Nigeria’s youth football has witnessed a dwindling fortune in the last few years, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku believes the game will soon bounce back with the array of stars being paraded by grassroots football teams in the country.

Chief Anyaoku said at the final of a grassroots football tournament, U-16 Emeka Anyaoku Cup, which he sponsored at the University of Lagos Sports Centre, Lagos last weekend that the performance of the budding talents in the tournament showed that with time, Nigeria’s U-17 Golden Eaglets and the Flying Eagles will have a reservoir of players not only to shock the world once again, but win the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the World Youth Championship, WYC.

He noted that the U-16 Emeka Anyaoku Cup was better organised this year as he heard reports of good officiating and organisation of the matches.

“I’m happy with the football artistry displayed by the two finalists and I must commend the winners for putting up a good show,” he said.

A late minute penalty, which was converted by Sunny Nasiru was all that Mighty Stars of Iwaya, Lagos, needed to defeat Smart Striker of Oke Aro, Ogun State 2-1 in the final.

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Onyema Stanley had earlier drawn the first blood in the 28th minute to end the first half 1-0 in favour of Mighty Stars.

Smart Striker began to search for an equaliser in the second half but the effort paid off when Jimoh Gbadamonsi scored a penalty kick awarded to his team in the 68th minute.

Speaking after the match, Mighty Stars coach, Mathew Dafe, commended both teams for their doggedness and determination. He, however, noted that the better team deserved the cup.

In his own remarks, Smart Striker’s Sulaiman Idowu blamed his team for not playing to instructions. He commended their opponents for the victory.

—Sunday Akintoye