The Score: Nigeria 2 Mali 0
Showing grace under fire, and demonstrating yet again the peaceful but determined perseverance that Mali has shown when facing fierce opposition --- whether in politics, social opposition, or football --- Mali’s Under-17’s yielded to Nigeria, but not without dedicated resistance.
This all-African final in the Under-17’s World Cup match between Mali and Nigeria in Chile on Sunday, November 8th, resulted in a disappointing loss for Mali. Nonetheless, Mali’s 17-year-old front man, Boubacar Traore, remained positive, overall. “I’ve really learned a lot here, from the coaching staff, my team-mates – who are also my friends – and our opponents as well. I want to work hard and earn the opportunity to play with the U-20 team, and then with the senior side,” said Traore.
FIFA described Mali as “reputable runners-up” and reported that “Mali’s impressive crop of players achieved much more than a historic runners-up spot at a FIFA event. Not only did they receive the acclaim of the Chilean fans, who supported them during the match and gave them a standing ovation after the final whistle, but their efforts were also recognized by the Nigerian players, who formed a guard of honor when their defeated opponents went up to collect their runners-up medals.”
For their prowess, Mali’s goalkeeper Samuel Diarra won the adidas Golden Glove award, and attacker Aly Malle was awarded the adidas Bronze Ball.
Meanwhile, the Nigerians celebrated their second successive FIFA U-17 World Cup Title, and their fifth overall, having beaten China in 1985, Japan in 1993, Korea in 2007, and UAE in 2013.