Garba Manu's Eaglets go into Saturday’s final with the aim of winning a third African cadet title and also to record their first win against their West African rivals
Attention shifts to the Grande Stade de Marrakech venue of the final battle between two West African brothers as the 10th Caf U17 Championship draws to a close on Saturday. The question on football loving fans lips is; who suceeds Burkina Faso as African champions?
For the Ivorians, playing in the final does not come as a surprise after putting up a brave showing in the group that featured pre-tournament favorites and two times champions, Black Starlets of Ghana, 2011 bronze medalist, Junior Red Devils of Congo and Nigeria not minding their tag as underdogs and under achievers.
Their biggest highlight in this tourney was subduing a high-scoring Nigerian side before silencing the host country in the semi-final.
Ibrahim Kamara's team is yet to taste defeat in Morocco and are already labelled as heroes back home because this will be Cote d’Ivoire’s first appearnce in the final since the tournament started. They would love to go to this year’s Fifa U17 World Cup as Africa’s best.
On the other hand, the high flying Golden Eaglets of Nigeria who have fired 17 goals past their opponents in four games have just two intentions, to record Nigeria’s first win ever over their neighbours at this level of football and also to re-write their wrongs against this side that shocked them in the group stages.
Coach Kamara will be banking on shot stopper, Aboubakar Diabagate, Paul Bakayoko, Kouassi Begbin and Diogbole Niangbo whose goal condemned Nigeria to her only defeat so far in this competition to truncate Nigeria’s third title chase and also to prove their victory over the skilful Nigerians earlier was no fluke. The Ivoriens best performance in the history of this competition was a third place finish achieved at the Gambia 2005 edition.