Coach Emmanuel Amuneke has said that the Final Match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 between Nigeria and Mali is good advertisement for African football.
On Sunday, the two West African sides will clash at the Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar in what is only the second –ever All-African final, since Nigeria and Ghana clashed in Japan 22 years ago, with the Eaglets winning 2-1.
Both Nigeria and Mali have flown the continent’s flag with pride en route to Sunday’s final and Amuneke enthused it would be a great day for African football yet again in Vina del Mar.
“African football has developed over the years and playing against Mali in the final of Chile 2015 shows that Africa is strong at this level,” Amuneke noted at the post match conference in Concepción after Golden Eaglets’ 4-2 win over Mexico.
The Golden Eaglets had in the run-up enjoyed favourable results at Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar where they crushed Chile 5-1 in their second group phase match, annihilated Australia 6-0 in the second round and battered Brazil 3-0 in the quarter final.
“On Sunday, we would give a good account of ourselves in Vina del Mar which has been a good venue for us,” the former Barcelona winger explained.”The fans all over Chile have been friendly but we have a special feeling playing in Vina del Mar where we have many fans.”
Yet, Amuneke was not oblivious of the challenges ahead, adding Mali who were crowned champions at the African U-17 Nations Cup in March are a very strong side. Incidentally, both countries did not meet in Niger Republic but the Eaglets can draw huge inspiration from their last encounters at the 2014 WAFU B Tournament in Togo where Amuneke –led Eaglets beat Mali twice with an identical 2-0 score-line.
“Yes, we met Mali in Togo but that was a long time,” recalled Eaglets attacking midfielder, Orji Okwonkwo who scored a goal each against the Malians on April 21st and 23rd, 2014. “The final on Sunday will be special and we pray that God bless us with victory.”