The Golden Eaglets saved their best for last with a thrilling 9-0 pounding of Diamond Zebras of Botswana to complete an aggregate win of 12-0 over two international friendly matches yesterday.
Last Saturday, the Nigerian Under-17 team beat their Botswana counterparts with three first half goals much to the dissatisfaction of the crowd who felt the Coach Manu Garba (MFR) boys were wasteful in the second half.
Monday's game was tighter with Botswana 'packing the bus' with more players in defence. Coach Kagiso Kobedi brought in four fresh new players to fortify the team but in the end, it was not enough to stop the rampaging budding Nigeria youth team.
Breakthrough came for the Golden Eaglets in the 17th minute when Musa Yahaya broke free from the left flank and glided the ball into the path of Bernard Bulbwa who dribbled an on-rushing defender before slotting the ball beyond goalkeeper Ezekiel Morake for the opener.
Though the Nigerian youngsters enjoyed more possession thereafter but poor marksmanship robbed them of more goals in the first half. Expectedly, the Golden Eaglets turned on the heat in the second half of the highly entertaining game and soon the goals started coming like torrential rainfall.
Ifeanyi Matthew opened the floodgates in the 53rd minute and he was back in the 65th and 69th minutes to grab a hat trick in the game. But it was his second goal that was arguably the best goal of the match when he struck a 25-yard half volley off a pullout from Yahaya.
Bulbwa added his second goal in the 57th minute as well as a brace for Musa Yahaya in the 60th and 71st minute. There were also goals for new comers and second half substitutes, Chinedu Enedemu and Odigbo Godwin in the 75th and 87th minutes respectively.
The Golden Eaglets remain unbeaten in 23 competitive and friendly matches. They have remarkably scored a total of 104 goals and conceded just a goal much to the satisfaction of the team’ officials in particular and Nigerians in general.
“First and foremost, we give thanks to Almighty Allah for what we have been able to achieve with this team but we are not going to rest on our oars,” coach Manu Garba (MFR) said after the game. “This team is still a work in progress and we pray that God crown our efforts in the end,”
His Botswana counterparts was also full of praises for the Nigerian team, adding that the experience garnered over the friendlies would be useful to his boys at the competition proper in Morocco come April.