Favour Daniels, Nigerian U-17 striker with two inspiring names, brought victory to the country’s U-17 team in the opening match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) against highly rated Zambia, Sunday.
The word favour implies being in good standing while Daniel famously came out unscathed from an ordeal in the lion’s den, in the Bible story,
Favour Daniel’s goal in the second half handed Nigeria a positive start at the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Algeria 2023, after seeing off Zambia 1-0 at the Mohamed Hamloui Stadium in Constantine on Sunday.
Despite a late penalty miss by Light Eke, the Golden Eaglets managed to see off the slim advantage to move top of Group B, after their opening match.
It was a well fought contest from both sides, but on the balance of chances, Nigeria could have had more from the evening kick-off.
Abubakar Abdullahi thought he had scored the opener after 13 minutes but he was flagged offside, while Tochukwu Ogbabido had a rasping shot from the edge of the box go inches over.
Six minutes to the break, the Nigerians had a glorious chance when Hope Linus sent skipper Precious Williams through on goal with a brilliant through ball, but the Zambian keeper’s trailing leg deflected the ball against the upright.
Three minutes on, the turn Zambia were also denied by the woodwork, this time Emmanuel Mwanza’s curling effort coming off against the crossbar.
In the second half, Zambia were better off and commanded more of the possession. They had a good chance in the 71st minute when substitute Obvious Mwaliteta sent Stanley Nyamikwe through on goal, but the latter saw his effort well saved by the keeper.
Five minutes on, the turn though, Zambia found themselves trailing. Daniel was left isolated inside the box after the ball was recycled in from a cleared corner, and the forward made no mistake beating the keeper.
They should have scored the second in the 89th minute from the penalty spot after Abubakar Abdullahi was brought down inside the box, but substitute Eke saw his tame penalty saved.
Zambia mounted a challenge for a comeback, and they almost snatched an equalizer in added time when Marcel Zimba rolled a low cross into the area, but both Aaron Simpasa and Linecker Mbesuma couldn’t offer it a touch into an empty net.
Zambia’s next match will be a COSAFA derby against South Africa while Nigeria take on Morocco, both games set for next Wednesday.