Eaglets miss U-17 AFCON despite beating Ghana

The Nigeria Football Federation has said the men’s U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, will not be at the 2025 U-17 AFCON in Ivory Coast and resultantly miss the 2025 U-17 World Cup in Qatar, after failing to pick their ticket at the just-concluded WAFU B tournament in Ghana.

Manu Garba’s team secured a 3-2 win over Ghana in the third-place match on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to secure them a spot, even as the NFF initially said the purported 2025 tournament’s expansion had sealed their qualification.

There’s been a nervous wait to know the fate of the team since their 1-0 semi-final defeat against Ivory Coast last Saturday, and the fatal blow was delivered on Tuesday when CAF insisted on a 12-team tournament for the U-17 AFCON.

“The Confederation of African Football has clarified that next year’s Africa U-17 Cup of Nations will still have 12 finalists in attendance, as against the minimum of 16 teams being projected by African football enthusiasts.

“This means that despite defeating host nation Ghana in Tuesday’s third-place match of the WAFU B U-17 Championship, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have not qualified for the finals,” the NFF said in a statement obtained by our correspondent late Tuesday.

The NFF added that CAF’s Director of Competitions, Samson Adamu, confirmed that only 12 countries will qualify for Ivory Coast 2025.

Expectations had been high among African football enthusiasts that the 2025 U-17 AFCON would be expanded, following FIFA’s allocation of 10 slots to the continent for the 2025 World Cup at its Congress in Bangkok.

Qatar will host five consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup finals beginning next year, each having 48 teams in attendance.

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