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GOLDEN EAGLETS TRIUMPH IN FIFA U17 WORLD CUP

Nigeria successfully defended their crown at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 and the Eaglets also dominated the individual honours at the tournament.

Nigeria became only the second side to retain the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-0 win against Mali in Vina Del Mar. Victor Osimhen stole the show once again thanks to his record-breaking tenth goal of the tournament, with Funsho Bamgboye adding a second moments later. Samuel Diarra had saved an early Osinachi Ebere penalty as the Malians played their part in an entertaining finale to Chile 2015.

The Eaglets’ captain, Kelechi Nwakali won the adidas Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

Victor Osimhen won the adidas Silver Ball in addition to the the adidas Golden Boot which he earned courtesy his record-breaking 10 goals and two assists.

Mali’s forward, Aly Malle got the adidas Bronze Ball.

Nwakali told FIFA.com, “I thank God for the opportunity to win this award. It means so much.”

Giving the credit to his team-mates’ hard work and diligence throughout their time in Chile, he said, “Right from the game against the USA, when we arrived in Chile, our aim was to defend the trophy.

“We believed the only way we could do this was hard work. We approached each game with hard work and seriousness. Any team that came to Chile worked for it.”

Both sides had chances in a tense opening period, with Golden Eaglets skipper Kelechi Nwakali hitting just wide and Boubacar Traore seeing his glancing header tipped over by Akpan Udoh.

The second half saw the game burst into life, with Emmanuel Amuneke’s words clearly working their magic on the Nigerian youngsters. Osimhen shrugged off the challenge of Mamadou Fofana before hitting a wonderful dipping half volley towards goal, which Diarra spectacularly saved. Udochukwu Anumudu then smashed a thunderous effort at goal, which rebounded back off the crossbar and was cleared away.

Mali did not heed those warnings. Good approach play by substitute Chinedu Madueke saw him tee up Osimhen for his record-breaking goal, seeing him surpass the nine goals scored by Florent Sinama Pongolle in 2001 and Souleymane Coulibaly ten years later.

The holders doubled their advantage mere minutes later, with Bamgboye bursting down the Nigerian left before smashing a powerful effort at goal, Diarra standing little chance.

Despite a couple of late chances for Mali, from corner kicks, Nigeria retained possession for large spells and saw the game out to retain their crown. The jubilant scenes on the final whistle in Vina Del Mar will surely live long in the memories of these Nigerian heroes of the present, some of whom may just become the stars of the future.

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