Officials and players of the National Under-17 team were full of smiles on Sunday after organisers of the WAFU B Tournament rewarded the Golden Eaglets with the Fair Play Award as well as crowning Amos Benjamin as the best goalkeeper.
While the Golden Eaglets were also adjudged as the best in terms of sportsmanship as they received less caution in their four matches, Benjamin received the best goalkeeper award for his outstanding display in all the team’s matches.
“Personally, I’m happy that Amos was picked as the best goalkeeper of the tournament because he has improved tremendously since he came into the camp,” said goalkeepers’ trainer and former youth international, Emeka Amadi.
“But more than anything else, I was impressed with his overall contribution to the success of the team and I think he can even get better.
“From the indices, he was outstanding because we have some other good goalkeeper at the tournament; the Mali and Benin goalkeeper are equally good but I’m happy it was Benjamin that was picked as the best,” he noted.
In four matches, Benjamin conceded only a goal and his agility was there for all to see especially in the ill-fated 3-1 semi-finals’ penalty shoot-out loss to Benin. The product from Football College Abuja for instance, saved one-on-one situations against the rampaging Beninois to keep the score line at a respectable 1-1 draw in regulation time. This is the second time that a Golden Eaglets’ goal-tender would be crowned the best at a tournament following the feat achieved by Dele Alampasu when the team won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last year.
In the meantime, the ‘little Squirrels’ of Benin were the overall winners of the tournament after their 2-1 victory over Mali in Sunday’s Final Match. The Golden Eaglets finished third after a 3-0 win over hosts, Togo in the play-off also decided on Sunday.