The Africa U-17 Cup of Nations kicked off in an unexpected fashion as Nigeria trimmed hosts Tanzania 5-4 in a very tense and entertaining opening game at Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium.
Wisdom Onyedikachi Ubani scored a brace, Olatomi Alfred Olaniyan, Akinkunmi Ayobami Amoo and Ibraheem Olalekan Jabaar scored the other three to complete the route for the West African country on Sunday evening.
Edmund Godfrey John’s double, Kelvin Pius John and Suleman Swaibu’s own goal were not enough to rescue even a point for the home team in front of their own fans.
Olatomi opened the scoring for Nigeria in the 21st minute of the game but a minute later, Tanzania equalized through Edmund’s simple tap in.
Ubani doubled the lead for Nigeria in the 30th minute then Akinkunmi made it 3-1 seven minutes later to give Nigeria a comfortable lead going into the break.
Tanzania returned for the second half the more motivated side, Kelvin grabbed a second goal for them just seven minutes into the second then Swaibu’s own goal brought matters to level terms in the 57th minute.
Three minutes later, Edmund completed his brace through a spot-kick, sending the visitors into a 4-3 lead in a dramatic encounter.
But Nigeria didn’t let Tanzania’s lead to last longer as Ubani brought matters to level terms once again with his second strike in the 72nd minute. Jabaar broke the hearts of many Tanzanians with a fifth.
Nigeria now on the top of group A with three points, they only need one win from their remaining two games to make it to the semifinals of the tournament. That will also guarantee them a ticket to the FIFA U17 World Cup finals in Brazil.