Cote d’Ivoire begged me to miss penalty, Flying Eagles’ skipper reveals
FLYING Eagles skipper, Musa Muhammed, has revealed that Cote d’Ivoire players begged him to throw away his second-half penalty in Saturday’s final AYC Group A match in Mbour, writes AFricanfootball.com.
The penalty goal, the third by the right fullback at Senegal 2015, drew the Flying Eagles level at 2-2 and eventually eliminated the Ivoirians from the tournament.
“The players, including the goalkeeper, begged me to miss the penalty, saying we are all champions and we should play for each other,” Musa revealed. “But I remained focused and professional to score the penalty and earn us a draw, which was a sweet revenge for the two losses we suffered at the hands of the Ivoirian U17 team two years ago in Morocco. Most of the players from that tournament were also here in Senegal.”
He added: “In Morocco, we were against both Cote d’Ivoire and the referee. They kicked us so much that at a time (Isaac) Success wanted to be replaced.”
Nigeria await the runners-up in Group B, which could either be Mali or Ghana, for Wednesday’s semifinal in Dakar.
“I have seen here in Senegal at least six players from the Mali U17 team we played against two years ago in a qualifying match for the 2013 CAF U17 Championship,” said the Flying Eagles star defender.
“They are very big and powerful players but we will be ready for them on Wednesday.”
Two years ago, the Golden Eaglets, led by Musa, beat Mali 2-0 in Calabar before the dumped them 3-0 in Bamako in the reverse fixture to qualify for the 2013 U-17 Championship.
Meanwhile, midfielder Ifeanyi Matthew will return to action on Wednesday after he was rested in a final group game against Cote d’Ivoire due to a hamstring injury.
A team official said: “Ifeanyi was rested so as not to worsen a hamstring complaint. He will be back for the semifinal on Wednesday.”
The FC Hearts attacking midfielder, who is on loan to El Kanemi, has scored two goals and provided three assists as Nigeria qualified for the FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand in fine style.
Enugu Rangers Obinna Nwobodo played in his place against Cote d’Ivoire in a game that ended in a 2-2 draw. Nwobodo provided two assists.
First-choice goalkeeper, Joshua Enaholo, has served out his one-match ban and will also be expected to take his place in goal on Wednesday.
Central defender Prince Izu Omego was not risked against Cote d’Ivoire as he was on a booking. His place was taken by Abdulganiyu Saheed on Saturday.