The local Blacks Stars of Ghana last Sunday defeated the Local Super Green Eagles of Nigeria by four goals to one in the WAFU tournament finals at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium.
Led by Captain Isaac Twum, Ghana had to contend with a very physical Nigerian side in the opening minutes of the match. It took the effort of the Ghanaian defenders to keep their poised opponents from causing mayhem with Vincent Atinga getting a yellow card in the process.
The deadlock was finally broken on the 44th minute by Stephen Sarfo after he turned in the penalty box and placed the ball at the right side of the post to beat Ezenwa in post for Nigeria. Patrick Razak replaced Gideon Waja in the 58th minute and was fouled in the penalty area in the 59th minute. Vincent Atinga stepped up and calmly converted to put Ghana 2-0 up 0n the 60th minute.
The Nigerians had a hard time handling Razak, who was again fouled in the 78th minute to give Ghana another penalty, which was scored by Stephen Sarfo for Ghana’s third of the night. Vincent Atinga was sent off in the 89th minute after receiving a second yellow card in the match. In another spectacular display, Razak snatched the ball from goalkeeper Ezenwa and made an assist for Winful Cobbinah to tap in Ghana’s 4th goal on the 93rd minute. Rabiu Ali beautifully converted a 95th minute free kick in what appeared to be last minute face saving goal for Nigeria to end the match 4-1 in favour of Ghana.
In the post match interview, Nigeria’s coach Salisu Yusuf said;
“My players did very well. We made some mistakes and we got punished for it.”
He was however quick to admit that they lost to a much better side.
However, head coach for the Ghana team, Maxwell Konadu, was impressed with his side’s performance.
“The players have shown that they could really play to instructions.”
In other news, Stephen Sarfo (Ghana) won the top scorer award with four goals whiles Ghana’s captain Isaac Twum picked the best player of the tournament. Nigerian goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
In a separate development, Niger defeated Benin in the third place match 2-1 to win the bronze medal.
The West Africa Football Union (WAFU) expanded the tournament to include all sixteen member countries compared to eight nations who competed in the last edition in 2013.
By: Awuni Ibrahim Mobarac