The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria Are Unlucky Losers at Home
The hosting right for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World was awarded to Nigeria by the football governing body, FIFA in 2007 at her additional ordinary congress held in Korea. The competition will be the third FIFA organized competition to be hosted by Nigeria after the successful hosting of the FIFA U-20 Championship in 1999. The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria will be defending the title they won at Korea on home soil, but the preparation of the cadet World cup was dealt a serious blow, when the Nigeria Football Federation sacked Coach Henry Nwosu, who was then responsible for the team, and announced the appointment of Coach John Obuh and Monday Odigie as Assistant.
The team suffered further blow, when a bulk of the players were dropped due to results of the Magnetic resonance Imaging test (MRI) test carried out on the team. The set back did not however deter Coach John Obuh, who was nevertheless able to put together a bunch of talented footballers from football academies distributed over Nigeria. The competition was played in eight designated cities: Enugu, Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Calabar Ijebu-Ode, Kano and Bauchi.
The competition which was held from on the 24th of October 2009 by November 15th 2009 saw the Golden Eaglets starting the defence of their trophy with a emotional 3-3 draw with Germany, after the Germans had gone 3-0 up. In their second group match, the young Eaglets inflicted a 1-0 defeat on a hapless Honduras side. The round of 16 tickets was secured in their final group match against Argentina with a convincing 2-1 defeat of the South Americans.
More drama was to unfold in the round of 16, where the Golden Eaglet were paired with the inexperienced New Zea-land. The match ended in a 5-0 bashing of the New Zea-land. The Golden Eaglet were not done however, as they defeated the hard fighting boys from South Korea 3-1 in the Quarter finals, to set up a semi-final clash with the enterprising Spaniards who were spoiling for a revenge of the 3-0 defeat inflicted on them in 2007. The match was settled in regulation time with a Stanley Okoro dazzling goal and super sub Emmanuel Sanni brace to give the Golden Eaglet a convincing 3-1 victory. The Golden Eaglets were just a step away from making history as the only country to great number and win the U-17 trophy as defending champion.
In the Final played at the magnificent Abuja national stadium, Nigeria failed to utilize the numerous opportunities that came her way in an entertaining encounter with Switzerland. They were to pay for their many misses, when Swiss striker Heris Seferovic scored the only goal of the match via a free header in the 63rd minute of the epic encounter.