The baby Elephants of Ivory Coast have been crowned champions of the 2021 edition of WAFU U17 Championship in Togo following a 3-2 victory over the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria.
It was fight to finish at the mainbowl of Stade de Kégué in Lome on Monday night, January 18 as the Ivorians returned home with the prestigious silverware.
Nigeria who reached the final following a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the semis looked to change the narrative having started the tournament on a poor note.
The Eaglets began the final on a front foot as they began asking questions in the early stages, but it was the opponents that first had their sight at goal, but goalkeeper Destiny Emuwahem came to the rescue.
Ivory Coast opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Sindou Kone poked home the lead to put to stun the Nigerians.
1-0 And in the 32nd minute, goalkeeper Destiny made yet another brilliant save to deny Ivorians another goal following a sensational strike from Charles Likpa.
Desperate for an equaliser, Nigeria came close in the 43rd minute but Christian Nwachukwu saw his long-ranged effort slightly over the bar, to set up a tantalizing second 45 minutes.
The second-half wasn’t any different from the first as the Golden Eaglets failed to match their opponents who looked hungrier for victory.
The Little Elephants made it 2-0 in the 59th minute to take the tie beyond Nigeria. Seydou Traore compounded the woes of the Eaglets to make it 3-0 in the closing stages.
However, late drama ensued after Ahmed Abdullahi scored from a freekick for Nigeria in the 90th minute, and then a second a minute later. The brace, however, proved to come too late.
It ended Nigeria 2-3 Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, both finalists have qualified for the 2021 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations championship staging in Morocco in March.