(FROM: William Ezah, GNA Special Correspondent, Banjul, Gambia)
Banjul, Gambia, May 9, GNA - South Africa and Nigeria on Sunday, shared honours in their opening group B match at the on-going Sixth Africa Under-17 tournament in The Gambia.
The two sides lived up to the pre-match billing after coach Serame Letsoaka of South Africa described the game as the "final before the final" as they sold an entertain brand of football to the fans. The South Africans displayed much skills, brilliance and discipline throughout the game but were unlucky not to have scored early. The South Africans in the first half outplayed their Nigerian opponents forcing the West Africans to chase their won shadows but had most their chances wasted by their attackers made up of Siwahla Mkhanyiseli, Stephen Faba, Kukhehi Thulani and Msomi Sibusiso. Sibusiso, however, made amends in the 20th-minute when he fired in the opener after Faba, had put him through.
The South Africans continued their raids in the Nigerian territory with Thulani being the tormentor-in-Chief as the Nigerians failed to find an antidote to the attacking fluidity of their opponents. The Nigerians resorted to rough play to intimidate their opponents but the South Africans were unyielding.
Tumelo Nhlapo made it two for South Africa putting the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Ocheje Oseni Moses after racing past his markers.
The Nigerians resumed the second half on a strong note in a bid to salvage their image, while the South Africans looked content with the score line.
The Nigerians scored twice to cancel the deficit in the 54th-minute and 83rd-minutes by Simon Zenke Terwase and skipper Sunday Mba's. 09 May 05