Nigeria win 1st leg V Kenya amidst age controversy


By
Claudia Ekai

Nigeria’s U17 girls national team beat their Kenyan counterparts 2-0 in the 1st leg of a World Cup qualifying match but not without controversy over the ages of some Nigerian players.

Patience Okaeme’s brace, one in each half was enough to give the Nigerians a comfortable win in the game played at the Nyayo Stadium.

However, the match was played under protest from Kenya who delayed it stating that they were facing a Nigerian side who had players over the age limit of 17.

The players named include: Alde Victoria, Patience Okaeme, Sarah Nnodim,Alimba Chioma, Joy Bokin, Amos Iheaoma and Oluchi Ofeabu.

Nigeria’s coach Peter Dedevbo was quick to point out that his players fall under the required age bracket and he is unperturbed by the stunt pulled by Kenya.

“We are not scared of Kenya protesting against our team. What we did is our own work and came with U 17 players.”

Kenya highlighted their inexperience by being penalised for bad throw-ins and giving the Nigerians the advantage, which was evidence enough that the two sides were on different levels.

Patience Okaeme separated the two sides on the 27th minute after she capitalized on a defensive blunder to give the Flamigoes the lead.

This did not deter the hosts who put up a fight as they sought the equalizer.

Okaeme completed her brace in the 68th minute making a comeback impossible for the East African country.

Janet Bundi with her rasping shots proved to be trouble to the visitors on the left flank but keeper Andy Gift Lucky denied her with every attempt.

“It was a good game, I can’t complain but the team has goalkeeping issues that need to be worked on and we will have a positive return leg.” Kenyan coach Fred Serenge said after the match.
The winner of the tie will face either Namibia or Botswana.

Kenya will officially lodged a complaint with CAF over the age of Nigerian players after the latter agreed to sign the protest letter before the match.

Photo, courtesy of michezoafrika.com.
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