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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 May, 2005, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Nigeria coach makes U-turn
By Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport

Nigeria coach Godwin Izilien
Izilien has gone back on his word
Nigeria coach Godwin Izilien says he will not resign despite promising to do so if his team failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the African U-17 Championship in Banjul.

On the eve of the tournament, a supremely confident Izilien told BBC Sport reporter Mohamed Fajah Barrie that his youngsters were going to be crowned African champions.

"I'm a man of principle and you can quote me on that. If my boys fail to win, I'll resign," Izilien had said just before Nigeria's opening game against South Africa.

But following the Golden Eaglets' failure to qualify despite a thumping 4-1 victory over Zimbabwe on Saturday, Izilien was singing a different tune.

He said: "I'm disappointed because we failed to make it to the semi-finals but anything's possible in football, so we have to accept it.

"I know I told the BBC that I would resign if we failed to make it to the semis but that was a political statement based on the confidence I had in my boys.

"I'm therefore not going to quit."

In a match of academic interest, the Nigerians triumphed against opponents who had nothing but their pride to play for.

Nigeria's goals came from Simon Terwase Zenke, Wuya Ibrahim Jibrin and two from substitute Ifeanyi Samuel Chukudi.

Ovidy Karuru scored Zimbabwe's face-saver.

Meanwhile, South Africa beat the Ivory Coast 1-0 on Saturday to join the Ivorians in the semi-finals.

Nhlapo Tumelo sealed the tie for the South African youngsters with a goal three minutes after the break.

The Amajimbos - as the South African team are known - finished top of their group will now meet the Gambia for a place in the final.

In the other semi-final to be played on Tuesday, the Ivory Coast face Ghana.


SEE ALSO
Ghana reach last four
13 May 05 |  African



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