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Golden Eaglets Not Qualified For U-17 AFCON — NFF

Golden Eaglets Not Qualified For U-17 AFCON — NFF

The Confederation of African Football has clarified that next year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations will still have 12 finalists in attendance, as against the minimum of 16 teams being projected by African football enthusiasts.

This means that despite defeating host nation Ghana in Tuesday’s third-place match of the WAFU B U17 Championship, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have not qualified for the finals.

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“The final tournament will still have 12 teams,” CAF’s Director of Competitions, Samson Adamu, told

Expectations had been high among African football aficionados that the 2025 Africa U17 Cup of Nations would be expanded, following FIFA’s allocation, at its Congress in Bangkok, penultimate week, of 10 slots to the continent for the 2025 FIFA U17 World Cup that Qatar has been designated to host.

Qatar will host five consecutive FIFA U17 World Cup finals beginning next year, each having 48 teams in attendance.

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  • Sportradio88.0 fm 3 weeks ago

    If Ghana u 17 had won yesterday,this news wil be opposite…
    How come it was after the game the refuse to follow fifa agreement for next Qatar u 17 world cup . Who is Samson adamu .a director in caf competition.
    He doesn’t no the politic of the game. I guess

    • Chima E Samuels 3 weeks ago

      You got this absolutely spot on. If Ghana had won then a new slot will be active. Caf alongside Ghana are against Nigeria progress but nobody seems to grab the concept. Upnext Nigeria vs South Africa since we can not play football politics na to sit down look.

      • Sportradio88.0 fm 3 weeks ago

        Maybe those senators fighting for old national anthem to be brought back are right .
        If adamu is from Chad , Niger etc it wouldn’t be a story but he is a Nigerian.

  • Ayphillydegreat 3 weeks ago

    So out of 12 teams 10 will now go and represent Africa at the U17 WorldCup?? Like NFF like CAF. That means South Sudan and Somalia will now represent Africa instead of Nigeria and Ghana?? Who did Africa like this Nitori Ọlọrun?? 

  • Four four two 3 weeks ago

    Im short of words

  • Four four two 3 weeks ago

    Its mind boggling and i must confess that im short of words

  • CS picked this from Punch newspaper. Just words for words. There’s a contrary story in premium times website.

    In fact said we have qualified because the host is Cote D’Ivoire and they are already in the final.

    CS journalists are lazy.

    We will get better information soon.

    For now, we should have Joy that we have a player we have been looking for in Cletus. Great player in the making.

    • Chima E Samuels 3 weeks ago

      Cle what? Christian ministries Abeg no make me laugh. Let’s be praying to qualify instead of celebrating one player whose talent is not new. Daga was even better but playing for Enyimba today.

  • I have not seen the news on CAF website. I don’t believe Adamu. If the news is true it should be on CAF News Website which I have checked and such news is not on their website. I believe decision is yet to be made by CAF and until I see it on CAF website, I will not believe the news. You can also verify on CAF website.

  • Folks, this is not a clear statement. Let’s clear things up: Currently, there’s no official update from CAF regarding changes to the U-17 AFCON format, which currently includes 12 teams. However, with FIFA’s recent expansion to 48 teams for the U-17 World Cup, Africa has been allocated 10 slots for the 2025 event, a significant increase from the previous four. Given this expansion, there’s a logical basis for expecting CAF to revise the AFCON format to possibly include more teams—perhaps 16 or even 24 — to align with the increased World Cup slots. This would allow more African nations to participate and compete internationally. As for official updates, we should expect CAF to make a statement when they are ready. In the meantime, comparisons with UEFA, which has adjusted its format in response to FIFA’s changes, suggest that CAF will eventually carry out a similar strategy.

    It’s just unfortunate that Africa is dark and corrupt. SAD!

    • Chima E Samuels 3 weeks ago

      Dark and corrupt sums it up else we will not be seeing Nigeria, Ghana, CiV, Burkina Faso and Benin playing qualifiers against each other. The insecurity of Caf headed by North and South led to all this madness and the corrupt Pinnick allowed this vote to go through during his time all because of hunger of power to be in Caf and FIFA executives.

  • Dr. Drey 3 weeks ago

    This makes absolutely no sense.
    10 teams from a 12 team qualifying series…?! REALLY CAF…? REALLY…?

    Anyways, it’s not their fault. Imagine if this team had spent an extra 3-4 weeks together b4 going to this WAFU B tournament. It’s so unbelievable that the team is barely 3 weeks old.

    • Papafem 3 weeks ago

      @Dr. Drey, how is CAF any different from the NFF? It’s like comparing a circus to a madhouse. Both are utterly chaotic! Was CAF just now made aware of the 10-team development? Why didn’t they restructure the qualifying series to ensure the best 10 teams from the continent made it through? And if FIFA gave them the information late, what’s stopping them from making the necessary adjustments?

      This means that 10 countries representing Africa at U17 World Cup next year are better than than that talented team of Nigeria. Really? Did they not see what the Nigerian team did at WAFU B, even with their shoddy preparation? If the useless bunch at the NFF had been proactive, Manu Garba’s team could have been another potential world champion next year. But no, that will never happen because of their incompetence. It’s absolutely shameful!

      • couldn’t have stated it better@Papafem

        for the life of me, I don’t understand the reason for this ‘balkanisation’ format of qualfying as set up by CAF. Why shoot yourself on the foot. ıt is simply a disservice to the better teams and could be counter-productive the less fancied teams as it makes them much more lazy and less willing to up their game to meet up to standard as they will be playing against themselves. After qualification, these less fancied teams get to meet better teams in the main event and then brought back to earth thereby getting demoralised.
        Why stagnate the sustainable growth of better footballing nations for the false thought of developing the not so good ones? The best way to develop faster is playing against better teams and learning. You don’t hide out in your echo chamber.

        CAF and generally speaking,African administrators are just too inept for one’s liking.

    • Bro, even in a 12 team format, Nigeria would still go Tru for coming 3rd because CIV already has an automatic slot to 2025 u-17 Afcon as host so the reps for WAFU zone B should be Burkina Fasso and Nigeria

      • Why is no one reasoning along this route? Or is CIV not the host?

      • Chima E Samuels 3 weeks ago

        CIV is the host as announced on Tuesday but CAF is insisting that Nigeria has no place in Afcon which sums up the perceived enemy of progress malign against Nigeria. Since Nigeria is the most successful u17 African team they have to pull Nigeria down by all means. For Africa to win u17 World Cup again it will become hard like the senior World Cup if this zonal madness does not end.

        Even host Ghana that was beaten by Nigeria was the most talented team in this Wafu B competition. CAF is the most stupid organisation for allowing a format that has worked for Africa and seen Nigeria Ghana as world champions to be changed just because they want the best to play and remove each other at easiest. Then when they reach the tournament proper they will be able to manipulate their objectives or at most let Senegal another Muslim country to win.

        Knowing fully well that this is Zonal things and anyone can win since we are zonal rivals why did NFF not open camp 6months ago like Ghana did 11months ago??? A Nigerian team refined like the Skillful Ghanaian side I witnessed will beat everyone including their zonal nonsense!!! NFF Gusua may God curse you!!!

  • Its absurd for to CAF insist on running a 12 team competition to qualify 10 teams for World Cup. The moment that 10 slots was awarded to Africa, the CAF qualifying tournament should have been expanded to 24 or at least 16 teams, otherwise the qualification format should have been changed to run independent of the U-17 AFCON.
    If CAF doesn’t address this issue with reasonable action, then the entire Africa should be ready to lose some of these slots in future due to potentially poor performance from weak representations that the current qualification format will throw up.
    And if I may ask, what exactly is the use of having Amaju Pinnick in the CAF Executive Committee if he cannot influence simple reasonable decisions that can favour West African countries and Nigeria in particular. What’s the point of having a FIFA or CAF executive with zero positive contributions on issues affecting the Nation and Zone that you are representing.

  • If this is true, so basically it means 12 teams contesting for 10 slots? Madness at the highest level.
    Africa as a whole needs foreign football administrators.

  • Personally, I think CAF does not want to be rushed into a decision.

    What has to be remembered is the the current WAFU Zone B tournament format was based on ultimately qualifying the teams for a 24 team U-17 World Cup format. As that format has now been upgraded to 48 teams, it follows that CAF would – in its own time – review their own qualification formula.

    I mean why would you use 2023 qualification formula for 2025 tournament with more teams?

    These are exciting times for Under 17 football.

    Qatar is scheduled to host the next four FIFA U-17 tournaments annually with 48 teams broken into 4 mini-tournaments each where the winners of each mini-tournament (following group stages, semi final and final from each of the 4 mini-tournaments) will then square up in the ultimate semi final and then final of the whole tournament.

    Like Coach Manu Garba said, it will be mad for CAF to allow Nigeria and Ghana to miss out on such a spectacle.

    Like I said, I think this new 48 team format by FIFA blindsided CAF. In fact, it blindsided many observers. I am will to wait for CAF to examine it properly and then offer a qualification format that will do Africa justice.

    CAF can be inept at times, but they are not lunatics!

    • The truth is that CAF is currently confused on what to do. It’s not actually so easy to expand a tournament without enquiring if the intending hosts is ready for such expansion. CAF might just create a supplementary qualification format to provide the rest of the slots for Africa outside the u-17 Afcon if they (CAF) for logistics reasons insist on the current 12- team format. It’s impossible for CAF to depend on a 12 – team tournament solely to fill in the 10 slots for Africa and the u-17 World Cup.

    • ‘CAF can be inept at times, but they are not lunatics!’
      I am beginning to think that CAF’S ineptitude is borderline swinging towards lunacy. And ı say that respectfully.
      What’s the point of zoning geographically? Who does it really benefit?
      Is it financial reasons, to save cost? If you are too poor or unwilling as a nation to invest in sports, then you are not ready. No one should take you seriously.
      Is it due to geographical size? Even Asia that is much bigger doesn’t zone geographically! Qualification zoning is based on most recent and current performance, which is by far beneficial to every team as it encourages teams to elevate their game, award those that earned and merited it and off course, have the best teams represent the continent, which reflects positively on the continent on the global scene.

      Or are the less fancied teams scared of losing to powerhouses? If you are scared, why play football! how do you improve? the beauty of football is in the surprises and upsets. that drives passion, dedication and thrills.

      This format is simply absurd and should be rescinded. We should go back to ‘factory setting’ and the old format, where draws were performance based and random.

  • Mr Hush,

    Talking about these things on platforms like this is not enough, we must take action which is what I did in 2022 in a letter to CAF which I copy below.

    “Dear Sir/Madam,

    End Zonal Qualification Formula

    Can I kindly ask that you reconsider the zonal qualification formula used in African football? West Africa has produced some of the most successful African national teams in world football.

    To constantly have Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and even Togo (all teams that have been to the senior level men’s world cup) eliminate each other in the so called Wafu Zone B tournaments is nothing short of criminal.

    It is simply using a backdoor route to expose some countries at the expense of others. It is analogous to Uefa making Italy, Spain and Portugal eliminate themselves; England, France and Germany eliminating themselves so that one of Malta, Cyprus and North Macedonia and one of Latvia, Estonia and Belarus will always qualify for tournaments.

    It passes belief that any regional football association will even think about implementing such a draconian measure in this day and age to favour certain sub regions ahead of others.

    It is just so inappropriate at best and ludicrous at worst.

    Sadly, Ivory Coast and Ghana were tactically prevented from participating in next year’s Fifa World Cup for women because of this dubious qualification construct.

    Under a more sensible qualifying formula, both West African teams would have qualified for the just concluded Women’s Afcon where one or both of them would have qualified for the world cup. Or is there a conspiracy against West African countries?

    CAF, end zonal qualification formula now!

    Thank you very much indeed.

    Kind regards

    Mr deo”

    • @Deo

      thank you for your proactiveness and thoughtful gesture.

      I sincerely hope CAF fixes her misstep.

  • I think caf are looking at this issue at a development level which is the main objective, countries like Nigeria, Ghana and especially WAFU zones are not doing badly and if we look at transition from u17 to the senior national teams west Africans are not doing badly. Hence caf may decide to hold on to the 12 team tournament and there by giving other countries the opportunity. This is a yearly competition now and by next year another tourney.
    Yes it will have been better for caf to increase the numbers to 16 or even 24, but logistics and organisation is always a problem for some host countries and caf as a whole.
    Lets just hope caf will change it’s mind.

    • Chima E Samuels 3 weeks ago

      CIV is the host so who gets their second qualifying slot since they already qualified as host. Or will they present CIV A and CIVB? Africa don mad o…. 10 qualifiers from 12 participants!!!!

      • Onwajunior 3 weeks ago

        I’ve not been following this properly, but I’m assuming the 12 slots are from 6 qualifying zones. When did CAF announce CIV as host? Maybe CAF considered the fact that CIV already qualified as finalists. I don’t believe CAF would play a 12-team tournament. If they go ahead with it then it’ll be the North Africans pushing it.

        • @Onwajunior, the North Africans have only 2 reps from the current format, the west Africa with 4 (wafu zone A and wafu zone B), central with 2, east 2 and south 2. So this is another thing that may evencount against wafu zones as we already have 4 altogether.

          • But with ur calculations it’s 10 countries not 12

    • 16 teams will not be possible with the zoning format from 6 regions. 3 per region will produce 18 teams. Cancel 16 teams.

      Meanwhile 24 team format might suddenly overwhelm any host country facilities putting in mind it is for “ORDINARY” cadet tournament unlike the flagship senior AFCON championships.

      I can say FIFA blindsided CAF as Deo said. Ultimately, CAF will still stick with the “manageable” zonal qualifiers and take 4 countries from each zone.

      But look at this. If they are already having difficulties with FIFA having tentative dates for both senior men and women 2025 AFCON and 2024 WAFCON editions, don’t you also think ALLOWING 8 TEAMS FROM WEST AFRICA from zones A and B to compete in a 24 team qualification tournament to prune qualified teams to 10 will also “cut to size” their aim to whittle West African influence in their championship ambition?

      Suddenly other regions will hanker after more slots and WA will ultimately dominate them.

      It is too late to use the format for 2026 senior world cup qualifiers for the under 17. Imagine doing so every year. Not forgetting the women teams and even the under 20 teams on a mismanaged continent.

      Tough decisions are going to be made. That Wafu A and B puzzle is a big conundrum for them

  • Dr. Drey 3 weeks ago

    For me, I dont think there should be any compulsion for 1 country to host 24 teams.
    2 countries can host 12 teams each (just like the way FIBA does its Olympics Qualification series), with all semifinalists from the zonal tournament qualifying, and the top 5 from both competitions emerging as Africa’s representatives.

    I am pretty sure amongst the 24 qualifiers, 2 should be willing to host the final tournament, especially with the perk of home advantage that could propel their team to qualify for the World cup

    But for one 12 team competition to produce 10 representatives……that’s utter madness.

  • Chima E Samuels 3 weeks ago

    Otilo NFF has succeeded in pruning their expenses. If we had qualified for the finals we for no dey hope.

  • FIFA COULD NOT USE AFRICA AS GUINEA PIGS TO STUDY THE 48 TEAM FORMATS, so they decided to use U17. Ghana and Nigeria before Korea & Japan.

    African football league before European Super league etc subtly.

  • Papafem 3 weeks ago

    When did CAF decide that zoning was a brilliant idea? I vividly remember the Golden Eaglets facing off against Guinea, a WAFU Zone A team, in the 2013 U17 AFCON qualifiers. But this absurd format seems to have really taken off under Patrice Motsepe. Sure, the Sundowns mogul has brought some welcome changes to African football, but he’s also sneakily pushing a COSAFA agenda like it’s his personal mission.

    Look, it’s no secret that many regions are envious of West Africa, especially Nigeria, for consistently doing well in global football. West Africa has always been the continent’s football factory, churning out the best players past and present. No other region can boast our level of individual and team achievements on the world stage.

    CAF and Motsepe must have done some deep thinking (or maybe just some shady plotting) and realized that COSAFA and CECAFA are miles behind in football development. So, what’s their genius solution? Cut down the number of West African teams repping the continent to make room for COSAFA. It’s like trying to level the playing field by moving the goalposts while we’re mid-kick!

    Let’s talk about the blatant bias in women’s football too. Motsepe must have been sweating bullets seeing Nigeria’s women dominate WAFCON. So, they teamed up with the host and referees to stop us at any cost in the last edition. Remember that semi-final match? It was like watching a robbery in broad daylight, with atrocious officiating and a hostile atmosphere that screamed, “Stop Nigeria!”

    They didn’t even want us at the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia because we’ve always been there, making everyone else on the continent look like amateurs. The embarrassment must be killing them.

    Ironically, more embarrassing to them is the fact that a team that finished 4th in a continental showpiece ended up being the best continental representative at the World Cup! While our so called African champions, South Africa, were been chopped on a kitchen slate by Sweden, Nigeria ended the competition without losing a single match in the regulation time, not even against the host, Australia, or the Olympic champions, Canada or even the European champions, England! As a matter of fact, the Zambian team that looked so superior against a depleted Nigerian team in that historic third place match at WAFCON, were totally disgraced by Spain and Japan at the WC with 5-0 and 4-0 drubbings. Did I mention Morocco, who with all their antics against us in that semi final match fare better at the WC? Nope! They were massacred in that group match by Germany. 6-0 was the score! Those were WAFCON’s runners-up. All these results exposed CAF’s hypocrisy and conspiracy against Nigeria, and by extention, West Africa, because if we all recall, Nigeria had to play Ghana again in the qualifying series of that edition of WAFCON. In fact, having watched almost all the matches in that WAFCON 2022, I can confidently say that Ghana was far better than many teams that came from other parts of the continent for that tournament.

    Now, what on earth is Amaju Pinnick doing on those CAF and FIFA committees? Is he just there for the free lunches? If he’s not speaking up, what are the other FAs doing? This isn’t just Nigeria’s fight. CAF, under Motsepe, is on a mission to erase West Africa’s relevance in continental football. West African FAs, especially those from WAFU B, need to band together and oppose this discriminatory format. Why should Nigeria and Ghana knock each other out for a spot at the U17 level? CAF needs a history lesson: between Nigeria and Ghana, there are seven world titles at U17 level. And let’s not forget Nigeria’s second-place finishes in 2001 and 2009. Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Mali have also shone at FIFA U17 World Cups. No other region can boast of this success, and CAF is trying every trick to stop it to uplift other regions.

    If they keep this up, they will soon be the laughingstock of global football, with poorly chosen teams flopping on the big stage. The joke will be on them when they lose slots in future competitions because their handpicked “favorites” can’t perform. So, here’s a tip for Motsepe and CAF: stop the shady games and let the best teams represent Africa, or face the embarrassment of your own making.

    • Dr. Drey 3 weeks ago

      Zonal qualifying started 3 yrs before Motsepe became CAF President…!

      • Papafem 3 weeks ago

        Bro, it’s arrant nonsense to me. And I don’t understand why those concerned are not fighting it. They should tell is why. I’m really pissed by the fact that this talented team won’t be going any further. So painful that the world won’t see more of Cletus, Adeleke and the rest on a bigger platform. Who knows who will be watching to take these kids’ to a greater height.

  • @Papafem it was during the time of Ahmad and it was one of his strategy to get votes from east and south africa and our amaju pinnick was privy to the idea, mind you amaju is not a fan of youth development unlike his deputy then Seyi Akinwunmi who really believed in grassroot football.

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