November 15, 2009

Switzerland lifts U-17 trophy

Haris Seferovic struck in the 63rd minute to give Switzerland an unlikely victory over three time champions and hosts, Nigeria in the final of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Abuja national stadium last night. Seferovic out jumped the entire Nigerian defense to bury the ball after a well taken corner kick. The goal silenced the partial home crowd that incidentally included FIFA President, Joseph Sepp Blatter, who is a Swiss.

After the goal, the match dragged on with the Nigerians mounting pressure but the Swiss who have demonstrated resilience and tactical discipline throughout the tournament repelled the Nigerians with ease, making occasional but dangerous moves that almost resulted in more goals for them.

It was a nervy start for the new champions as the Eaglets launched numerous early attacks that were wasted. Eaglets’ pointsman, Stanley Okoro was the chief culprits as he kept coach John Obuh on his feet throughout. Even super-sub, Sani Emmanuel who had a rare start in the final was unsettled throughout the time he lasted on the pitch as he was either shooting off target or unable to beat the determined Swiss defenders.

The Eaglets kept missing a lot chances as the first half ended goaless.On resumption, the Swiss defense reorganised themselves and continued frustrating their Nigerian counterparts until the 63rd minute when Seferovic headed in the corner kick.
It was a befitting end to the new champions who were making their first appearance in the cadet tournament since its inception in 1985.