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Sunday was not a good day for African teams at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria...

African champions Gambia lost 2-0 to Iran in Group C, while Burkina Faso fell by the odd goal to Turkey in Group D on Sunday in continuation of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria.

Gambia and Burkina Faso, along with hosts and defending champions Nigeria, are widely regarded as Africa's best bet at this tournament, but both failed to get a result in their opening group matches.

The Young Stallions of Burkina Faso, who finished third at the 2001 edition of the championship, were beaten 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, eastern Nigeria, with skipper Muhammet Demir notching the winner as early as the third minute.

While at the Jerry Esuene Stadium in the coastal town of Calabar, Gambia were reduced to nine men as they fell 2-0 to Asian champions Iran with goals from Payam Sadeghian in the 44th minute and Kaveh Rezaei six minutes from time.

Gambia's Buba Sama and substitute Dembah Janneh were sent off in this game.

Africa's other flag-bearers, Malawi and Algeria, will begin their own campaigns on Monday. Malawi face United Arab Emirates in Group E at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, while Algeria have a daunting task against Italy in a Group F fixture at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna.

In late games on Sunday, Colombia beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Group C, while in Group D, Costa Rica and New Zealand drew 1-1.

Samm Audu, Goal.com

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