•By Wale Joseph, Rabat, Morocco.
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles today in Rabat had the better of their Malian counterparts with them qualifying for the final after winning 5-4 penalties.
The highly exciting and explosive match saw both sides playing 0-0 at the end of the regulation time.
Although Nigeria lost a penalty in the first half of the match, both sides still could not found the back of the net even after extra time, leading to penalty shootout to detamine who go through to the final and the gold medal match.
Both teams lost their first kicks with the two goalkeepers keeping their teams in the race to the finals.
However, Nigerian goalkeeper, Detan Ogundare emerged the hero when he stopped the Malians ninth kick to ensure that Nigeria qualify for the final of the Africa Games football event for the first time since 2003, when they lost to Cameroon in Abuja 2003 edition.
Speaking with thegazellenews.com after the match, Detan Ogundare delicated the victory to God and his Mummy, Bukola Ogundare.
"I give God the glory for this victory and I also dedicate it to my mummy". He said.
Speaking further, he disclosed that they are here to be the best by winning the gold medal, adding that they will give more than 100 per cent to win the gold.
Also speaking, the head coach of the team, Paul Aibogun, expressed joy and happiness defeating the Malians after losing to them on two occasions through penalties in the Africa U-20 Nations Cup and WAFU Cup both in the semi finals.
The Flying Eagles will meet the winner of the match between Burkina Faso and Senegal in the finals on Friday.
Nigeria’s Falconets will also take on Cameroon in finals of the women’s football event.