By Peterking Quaye, reporting from Accra – Togo has been crowned champions of the WAFU 2011 in Nigeria. In the first match Liberia beat Ghana 2 -1 to secure the team’s first win in recent times. For this win Togo took home US $ 25,000 whilst second place Nigeria took US$15,000.
Atakora Lalawele claimed two goals and one assist as Togo stunned hosts Nigeria 3-2 to win the second edition of the WAFU Cup tournament in Abeokuta.
Lalawele opened the scoring with a header inside 2 minutes, then set up Wome Senome for a simple tap-in on 20 minutes with the Nigerian defence stranded high up the pitch.
Ikechukwu Ibenegbu reduced the arrears five minutes later before adding to his tally from the spot when Ehiosu was sandwiched by two defenders.
But a goalkeeping error from Sunday Rotimi allowed Lalawele to claim his second of the evening from a free kick, and the Hawks held on in front of a stunned crowd.
Both teams finished with 10 men when defenders Gege Soriola and Duro-Akoriko were dismissed in either half.
Defeat ended Samson Siasia’s run of five consecutive wins, and also denied him his first trophy as Super Eagles coach. Liberia defeating Ghana in this tournament has ended the goal drought of the youth team in recent time as they have suffered many defeats .
Liberia bounced back from their defeat to Nigeria to beat Niger 2-1 in the last match of Group B to qualify for the semi final of the 2011 WAFU Cup in Abeokuta. The match started with both sides sizing each other up showing keenness to get the early goal. It was Liberia that drew the first blood with more threats on Niger’s goal as the game grew. Their efforts paid off in the 9th minute when Murlin Karndu drove home from a beautiful pass by Patrick Wleh in the midfield for Liberia’s first goal.
Niger fought back and replied through Boubakar Amodu who scored the equaliser in the 9th minute. The goal brought out the fire in the Liberian side as they stepped up their play and took the game to their opponents with sleek passes and beautiful midfield play.
Samuel Thomson soon put the Liberians again in the lead when he scored before the end of the second half.
The second half was uneventful as the two teams looked tired and lacked the depth to increase the tempo. The Liberian victory means that they will now meet either Togo or Ghana in the semi final scheduled for Thursday.
Liberian coach, Thomas Kojo praised his team for playing to instructions and said they were ready to face any of the teams in the semi-final. “We will welcome any of them, whether Ghana or Togo. We are not afraid of any team,” he said in a post match briefing.
Niger coach Brah Taher praised his players in defeat, saying that he brought a young team to Nigeria to learn. “I am happy with their performance. We will go back and prepare better. When we come back next time, we will be better.” Meanwhile, Ghana will meet Togo Tuesday day in the reversed fixture of Group B,
Liberia Coach, Thomas Kojo spoke with CAFONLINE in an interview and said, their game was not easy. We tried to avoid complacency against Niger. We warned the players against complacency because in football, it is dangerous to underrate your opponent. All we needed to do was to control the game all and keep the game in our favour. We did just that and we are happy with the result. It was not an easy match at all.
Niger is a top team in Africa and at times the opposition matters in a team’s play. At times it is more difficult to play a team you may term as an underdog. When you are playing a top team, there is more motivation to play your best
The Liberia Olympic team lost 6-0 to Nigeria Super Eagles and lost only by a one goal. ‘We are in a building process. After the 2002 Nations Cup, the Liberian national team was disbanded. We started afresh with the U-23 team. That is the team we brought here for this competition. Our performance against the Super Eagles was good. I believe we are progressing and improving all the time”. Liberia team has lost two matches in a row.
With Support from CAFONLINE.COM