It's a sad moment for Africa as the last trace of the continent got kicked out of the ongoing FIFA U-17 world Cup in Brazil. You will recall that four African Nations had booked a place in the competition. Though Cameroon couldn't make it to the knockout phase of the tournament after failing to qualify from the group, three other African Nations kept the dream of Africa alive by progressing to the round of 16. Before the Wednesday clash between Senegal and Spain, Angola and Nigeria were already on their way home, thereby leaving the burden of African Pride on Senegal. The Elimination of the Nigeria Golden eaglets from the competition was a big hit on Africa, as the west Africans were one of the tournament's favourites. However, Nigeria's inability to learn from their mistakes against Australia, saw them defeated 3-1 by the Netherlands in the round of 16 to end their dream of lifting the trophy for the sixth time. Angola too were a highflying side from their group and posed a great threat to any team that underrated them in the knockout phase, but a slack on their part saw them kicked out of the competition too.
What this meant was that Senegal will have to be the only African Nation to keep the dream of the Continent winning the trophy alive, it was huge responsibility on them considering the fact that this was their debut in this competition. Having been pitched against a team like Spain in the round of 16 made the actualization of that dream even more foggy. Having fought their way through from Group D where they had to conquer opponents like USA whom they defeated in their first group match, and then Netherlands before succumbing to Japan in their last group game. Life is really a fairytale, Netherlands had qualified from that group as one of the best third place teams. The Oranje became more determined having been pitched to play against group B leaders Nigeria in the round of 16. Against Nigeria, the Netherlands explored Nigeria's weaknesses and made sure they got an early goal against Manu Garba's eaglets. Nigeria have been prolific in staging a comeback in the competition, but the Oranje knew exactly what they came for and they got it. Thanks to Hansen's hat trick which saw the game culminated in a 3-1 scoreline in favour of Netherlands.
Wednesday saw the Teranga Lions Cubs go against a highflying Spanish side. Being the last African team left in the competition, the Continent threw their weight behind the Senegalese team. However, it was obvious the Europeans were the better team and it would have taken misfortune for them not to get a win against Senegal. The match which took place at the Estadio de Haile Pinheiro in Goiania Brazil ended in a 2-1 win in favour of Spain, marking the end of Africa in this edition of the competition. The black continent will have no team to keep African hope alive going into the quarter finals, it's really sad and I hope we go back to the drawing boards and fix our cracks before the 2021 edition. For Spain, all they needed was two goals from Roberto Navarro and German Valera’s goals in either half to book a spot in the quarter final round. Senegal's Souleymane Faye’s late goal did little or nothing to change the outcome of the match. Though Senegal started the game with gusto and drive to push beyond the walls of the Spanish side, most times taking long range shots to take Spain unawares. But Spain had more precision and build up, and it didn't take long for them to show Senegal the Stock they're made of. A 27th minute goal by Navarro was all Spain needed to light up the stadium and consolidate later to finish the game in a 2-1 thriller. Congrats to Spain!