Nigeria today qualified for the semi-final stage of the 2013 Morocco CAN Under-17, and an automatic berth at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates after completing a comprehensive 7-0 demolition job of the Republic of the Congo.
In an awesome display of quality and character, the team was up by four goals at the end of the first half, Success Isaac and Kelechi scoring a brace each. Ifeanyi Matthew, Musa Yahaya and Iheanacho added three more goals in the second half the last to give Nigeria a reassuring win after its 1-0 loss to Cote d’Ivoire in their last group game.
The victory leapfrogged Nigeria to the top of Group B with six points after Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana played a goalless draw in the other game in Casablanca. Those teams respectively finished on five and two points respectively, while Congo-Brazzaville was bottom of the group on two points.
Speaking at the post match conference, Coach Manu Garba (MFR), saluted the courage of the players to bounce back swiftly after their shock loss to Cote d'Ivoire last Wednesday, stressing that the focus is now on the semi-final game against Tunisia next Wednesday.
"We are happy that we have eventually qualified for the World Cup because that was our first priority at this championship and we thank God that we have achieved that," Garba said. Nigeria will now face Tunisia in the semis while hosts Morocco would play the first semis on Tuesday.
“We are happy that we eventually top a tough group that had three strong West African teams and Congo. But we have put this victory over Congo behind us as we forge ahead for the crucial stages of the championship.”
Also at the post match conference, Vice-Captain Success Isaac, who leads the tournament’s scorer’s chart with six goals, asserted that the collective achievement of the team is the most important.
“The success today goes to the team; the players and the coaching crew because we are a collective group,’ he said.
He thanked God that the players were able to carry out the game plan outlined by the coaches, and that the team now looked forward to the game against Tunisia.
In 2007, Coach Garba was part of the team that emerged world champion.