- Nigeria's Golden Eaglets opened their campaign at the 2023 CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations with a hard-fought 1-0 win over their Zambia at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui, Constantine, on Sunday.
The game started with the Golden Eaglets dominating play and creating several opportunities, but they could not convert them into goals. The Junior Chipolopolo, on the other hand, struggled to keep up with the Nigerian team's sleek passing game and exciting wing play.
The game's first real chance fell to Nigeria when Abubakar Abdullahi found the back of the net, but his effort was ruled offside. The Golden Eaglets continued to pile on the pressure, and they came close again when captain Precious Williams' shot hit the crossbar.
Despite their dominance, Nigeria could not find the breakthrough they needed in the first half, and the game remained goalless going into the break.
The second half was a more balanced affair, with Zambia showing more fight and creating better chances in attack. However, Nigeria eventually broke the deadlock in the 77th minute when Favour Daniel slammed home a rebound after a blocked shot landed in his path.
The Golden Eaglets had a chance to double their lead in the closing stages from the penalty spot after the enterprising Abdullahi was fouled in the box, but substitute Light Eke's weak effort was stopped by the Zambian goalkeeper.
Despite the missed penalty, Nigeria held on to secure all three points and start their quest for a record third African title on a winning note.
The coach Nduka Ugbade-tutored team will next face Morocco on May 3rd before trading tackles with South Africa two days later.
With this victory, the Golden Eaglets have taken the lead in Group B. The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals of the competition, and Nigeria will be looking to build on this impressive start as they aim to reclaim the U17 AFCON trophy.