By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
Follow Akyereko on Twitter: @AkyerekOfficial
Ghana lost their crown as African champions of the Milo U13 Championship after losing 5-4 on penalties to cross-border rivals Nigeria at the final in Lagos on Saturday.
The gifted Ghanaians fought from 3-1 down to manage a 3-3 in regulation time but lost on penalties to surrender the crown they won in 2012 as host.
The hosts went 2-0 up at the Campos Stadium after 16 minutes through their captain Olushegun Olakule and added another just after the commencement of the second half through Mustapha Adamaba after Ghana’s Fatau Issahaku had pulled one back just before the recess.
Just moments after Nigeria’s third goal, Fatau caught the Nigerians ball-watching as he scored with a long volley from the center of the field to further cut down the deficit to 3-2 before Abdul Rashid headed past the keeper to push the game to penalties.
The Ghanaians were left in sorrow after their fourth kick hit the goal post as Nigeria took advantage and scored their last kick to win the day. It took the Category Business manager of Nestle Gh. Ltd, Mr. Olufemi Akintola and his team not less than thirty minutes to console the kids as they wept bitterly after the final whistle.
Former African footballer of the Year Award winner Nwanko Kanu, who was a special guest at the games expressed his joy as the Nigerians won the trophy.
“You can see they really have the talent, I’m happy for the Nigerian kids but the Ghanaians also played very well. I'm proud of the boys,” he told Asempa FM's Kusi Mensah who watched the finals at Lagos' Victoria Island.