TANZANIA U-17 team, Serengeti Boys started their 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on a back foot following a 5-4 loss to Nigeria in a tense match held yesterday at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
It was the opening game of the campaign which witnessed a total of 9 goals scored in the match as the race towards the championship kicked strongly.
Nigeria took the lead after 20 minutes on the field through Olatomi Olaniyan, who used the defensive errors exposed by Serengeti Boys to his advantage but the narrow lead was cancelled a minute later with a superb strike from Edmund John.
But, the hosts conceded two goals prior to the halftime whistle which gave them a big mountain to climb come second half since they marched into the dressing room 3-1 down.
However, Serengeti Boys came a rejuvenated side in the second half shrugging off the 3-1 loss they suffered in the opening segment of the game to score three goals in space of 7 minutes which was a good response from the success-hungry young players.
With massive backing from the home supporters, Serengeti Boys netted the vital three quick goals in the second half which to a large extent helped them to come back into the game and silencing Nigerians who were always a thorn in fresh after passing the half line mark.
The goal poacher Kelvin John started pouring in the goals for Serengeti Boys in the 51st minute thanks to his long distance kick which caught Nigeria goalkeeper Suleman Shaibu off guard.
Immediately after scoring the second goal, the home team changed into the top gear launching attacks from all cylinders of the pitch no wonder they won a penalty in the 55th minute after the substitute defender for the visiting team handled the ball in the danger zone an attempt to clear the pressure.
Captain Morice Abraham stepped up and scored the third goal for Serengeti Boys to make it 3-3 hence disorganising Nigeria.
Again, the visitors conceded another penalty in the 58th minute which was expertly scored by Edmund John, his brace on the day which put his side 4-3 ahead.
Serengeti Boys conceded a free kick half way in the second half which gifted Wisdom Ubani the equalising goal for the visitors to make it 4-4 apiece before sealing the deal in the 78th minute with substitute Abraheem Jabaar scoring the winner for the Nigerians.
Following series of goal attempts, it was Nigeria who took the first lead in the 20th minute of the first half courtesy of a close range shot from Olatomi Olaniyan as Serengeti Boys defenders were late to clear the rebound save from goalkeeper Mwinyi Yahya.
However, the home side responded positively after cancelling the lead a minute later through Edmund John who received a timely pass inside the box from prolific player Kelvin John who was lethal whenever moving forward towards the visiting team