Nigeria booked their spot in the Semi-finals after a hard fought for victory against Russia to secure a spot in the final 4 in Day 2 of the 2017 COPA Coca-Cola Global Cup in Durban. Nigeria joins South Africa Team 1 and 2, as well as Tunisia as the final quartet of the boys’ tournament who will be vying to be crowned the inaugural COPA Coca-Cola Global Cup Champion.
“COPA Coca-Cola is not just about playing football, it’s also about character. My boys showed plenty of character against a strong Russian team. What Coca-Cola is doing through the COPA Coca-Cola Cup, in giving boys an experience they would have otherwise never had playing in their country is commendable,” said Kennedy Taye Ezenwere. “Football is a global experience and because of this tournament our players have experienced this first hand, thanks to the COPA Coca-Cola Global Cup. We are from a rural part of Nigeria and coming to South Africa and competing in this tournament has broadened the character of my players,” added Taye.
Nigeria’s character has been tested at the 2017 COPA Coca-Cola Global Cup. Following their Group C, 3-2 defeat to Tunisia in Day 1 the team rallied in Day 2 to beat Russia Team 1 by 4 goals to 1.
Though the score line may reflect that the young Africans had it their way, this was not the case. Nigeria had to compete with the sheer physicality of the Russian players. Using their agility and quickness, the Nigerians were able to score 3 goals in the second half after a hotly contested first half that ended 1-1. Nigeria will now meet South Africa Team 2 in the second semi-final to earn a place at the final of the COPA Coca-Cola Global Cup.