Sunday, May 15, 2011


Togolese joy. Picture courtesy

The Hawks of Togo defeated the defending champions Super Eagles of Nigeria 3-2 in a pulsating final to clinch the 2011 WAFU Cup played at the M.K.O Abiola international stadium, Abeokuta, Ogun state, Nigeria on Saturday. 

The match, which pitted ex-Eagles internationals Samson Siasia and Stephen Keshi on opposing teams, was a good display for home-based African players. Newly appointed Togo coach Keshi had also lost the Eagles coaching job to his former teammate last year.

Togo stunned the defending champions with a beautifully worked goal in the third minute through Lalawele Atakora. Dove Sename Wome doubled the lead in the 22 minute. This forced Siasia to spend most of the remaining part of the match on the touchline as he shouted instructions to his Eagles team which looked dazed by the two quick strikes from the Hawks.
It may have spurred the Eagles as they clawed their way back into the match in the 27th minute when a flowing move led to a goal scored by Bartholomew Ibenegbu. The Eagles were reduced to ten men in the 34th minute after Soriola Gege was given his marching orders for a reckless tackle on a Togolese player to put the Eagles team in jeopardy. However, their determination paid off in the 45th minute when Ekigho Ehiosun was brought down in the Togolese box and the referee awarded a penalty which Ibenegbu coolly slotted home. The lifeline didn’t last long as Togo’s Atakora snatched another goal with virtually the last kick of the first half stoppage time to leave Siasia’s team ruing their missed chances.

Despite a horde of chances for both teams in the second half, as well as a red card for a Togolese player, the score remained 3-2. It would have gone into extra time when an Eagles player hit the bar in the 90th minute. However, Togo held on to clinch a well-deserved first WAFU Cup trophy.

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