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WAFU B U17: For first time in 25 years, Golden Eaglets fail to qualify for the back-to-back World Cup

"This is the second time the Nigerian Eaglets have failed to qualify for a back-to-back world cup since Egypt in 1997 and New Zealand in 1999 championship"

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The Nigerian Golden Eaglets will miss out on the 2025 Africa U17 Cup of Nations and Qatar 2025 world championship despite defeating Ghana’s Starlets by 3-2 in a hard-fought game on Tuesday.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) clarified that, contrary to the minimum of 16 teams projected by African football enthusiasts, next year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations will still feature 12 finalists.

“The final tournament will still have 12 teams,” CAF’s Director of Competitions, Samson Adamu, told thenff.com.

The Eaglets clinched the bronze medal at the University Stadium, Accra, thereby finishing in third place at the WAFU B U17 Championship.

The Nigerian team took the lead in the 9th minute courtesy of Imrana Muhammad before an equaliser from the home team after 10 minutes, owing to an own goal from the Nigerian side.

In the 27th minute, Ghana took the lead with Harve Gbafa’s strike after a defensive blunder, beating goalkeeper Dominic Chinedu in goal for Nigeria.

Unwilling to give in to defeat, Nigeria’s Abdulmuiz Adeleke struck four minutes before the half-time mark when he nodded in the equaliser from a pull-out by John Ogwuche.

As the attacking-intensified match was heading towards a penalty shootout, Adeleke’s late strike secured a spot for Nigeria at next year’s continental finals.

After losing in the semi-finals, both teams were unable to qualify for the 2025 tournament.

Ghana lost 2-1 to Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast beat Nigeria 1-0.

Persecondnews reports that since Nigeria last won the U-17 Nation’s Cup in 2007, the team has failed to qualify in four editions: 2009, 2007, 2017, and 2024.

The glory days of one of the world’s most fancied cadet teams have evaporated into thin air. The record five-time world champions have failed to qualify in three of the last four world championships: 2017, 2023, and 2025.

This is the second time the Nigerian Eaglets have failed to qualify for a back-to-back world cup since Egypt’s 1997 and New Zealand’s 1999 championships.

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