Nigeria 3-0 Ivory Coast
Egypt 2-1 South Africa
Ghana v S. Africa
Cameroon v Nigeria
It was a close finish for Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Ghana as far as qualification for the semi-finals of the 16th African Youth Championship in Kigali are concerned.
Nigeria reached the semi-finals after a 3-0 thrashing of Cote d’Ivoire in the final Group B clash on Sunday at the Amahoro Stadium.
The victory ensured qualification for the five-times Champions as they finished as winners of the group on superior goal difference over South Africa and Egypt.
South Africa lost 1-2 to Egypt in Group B’s other fixture but still progressed to the semis following a superior goal difference.
Against the Flying Eagles, Ivory Coast started on a high note but lacked the cutting edge upfront.
Hamburg based striker Chrisantus MacCauley who was making his first start of the competition justified his place with the opener on 24th minute before further goals from Ibrahim Haruna and Ibrahim Rabiu.
In the other match, Egypt took a two-goal lead but Ngcepe Thulani reduced the deficit on the 70th minutes for the Amajita.
In Wednesday’s semi-finals, Ghana will face South Africa while Nigeria lock horns with Cameroon.
Amajita, lost their last Group B match against Egypt in Kigali, Rwanda yesterday.
This was Egypt’s chance to force their way into the semi-final of this African Youth Championship and they set off from the first minute when Al Ahly striker Mohamed Talaat surged forward, but was cleanly tackled by Ramahlwe Mphahlele before he could take a shot.
After nine minutes, Amajita were stunned by a header by Talaat for the opener. He grabbed his brace on 30 minutes, but the South Africans refused to die with Mduduzi Nyanda testing their goalie Ahmed Abdi Mohammed on 45 minutes, but the keeper scrabbled clear.
In the second half Amajita continued to take the fight to the Pharaohs and were rewarded when Thulani Ngcepe, who had come in for Thabang Mathuka pulled one back.
Serame Letsoaka’s boys, who’d already qualified for the semis after they won their first two games, tried in vain to level coming close thrice with Dillon Claassen, Ngcepe and Masango.
All four teams have qualified for the World Championship slated for Egypt in September.
Kone wins Samsung Fairplay award
Ivory Coast midfielder Bakary Kone won himself a Samsung Fairplay player award for his discipline and overall performance despite the 0-3 loss to Nigeria.
Kone becomes the second Ivorian player to win the accolade after Gohi Zoro won the award in Ivory Coast’s opener against South Africa last week.