Home > Sports News > Eaglets Fly Into Abuja For U-17 World Cup

Eaglets Fly Into Abuja For U-17 World Cup


Taiwo Ogunjobi

Taiwo Ogunjobi

Not many people believed the Golden Eaglets will successfully defend the FIFA U-17 World Cup trophy, which Nigeria won in South Korea in 2007. But with the tournament just five days away, that notion seems to be giving way to high expectations. Now the Eaglets are seen as a group that can restore hope to Nigerian football. 

That newfound belief was demonstrated at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Abuja, yesterday where a large crowd turned out to welcome the Eaglets amid dance and songs. 

The demonstration of love turned the airport into a carnival atmosphere with cultural dance troupes and appreciative fans on hand to welcome the national U-17 team to the city where they will start the defence of their FIFA U-17 World Cup title on Saturday. 

Chairman of the Abuja Sub -seat of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the tournament, , led the reception party that ushered the Eaglets into the Federal Capital Territory. 

Nigeria, U-17 World Cup holders, have the big opportunity to become only the second country to successfully defend the trophy, when they host the tournament October 24 -November 15 in eight designated cities across the country. 

Brazil, no less, is the only country to have successfully defended the title in its 24-year history, after she followed up triumph in Egypt in 1997 with another in New Zealand two years later. 

Nigeria won the inaugural edition of the competition, when it was staged as U-16 World Championship in China in 1985, but lost on penalties in the final to Soviet Union in Canada in 1987. Saudi Arabia won in Scotland in 1989, Ghana won the first U-17 event in Italy in 1991 and Nigeria stormed back with a vengeance in 1993, beating Ghana in the final in Tokyo. 

Ghana overpowered Brazil to win in Ecuador in 1995, Brazil took the trophy in Egypt in 1997 and in New Zealand in 1999. France beat Nigeria in the final in Trinidad and Tobago in 2001, Brazil beat Spain to win in Finland in 2003 and Mexico shocked all to lift the trophy in Peru two years later. Nigeria beat Spain on penalties in a cracker of a final in Seoul, Korea Republic two years ago.

Credit: modernghana.com

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