By Andah John
Senegal won their fourth Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations title after drowning hosts Nigeria 8-4 in the final game played at the Eko Atlantic.
Both West African countries had already earned their berths at next year’s Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in Bahamas by virtue of their spots in Sunday’s final.
But Senegal are the ones who will represent Africa as champions of the continent. A late rush of goals against a weary Nigerian side ensured that.
The score was level at 4-4 going into the third and final period. But two late goals from hat-trick hero Sylla as well as further efforts from Fall and Diouf wrapped confirmed the title for the Senegalese.
How it started
Fall fired low to stun the home crowd with his 10th goal of the tournament. But Senegal did not stay long ahead as captain of the Nigerian side Isiaka Olawale had an instant response. He took advantage of slack play at the back by the Senegalese.
Nigerian then went in front through Ogodo when his partially saved effort rolled in and was eventually given as a goal by the officials.
But the Senegalese refused to give up as Sylla beat Ayalogu down to his left to level matters. That goal stunned the home fans once again.
Diassy then rattled the crossbar for Senegal before Emmanuel hit the post at the other end in a hectic first period.
But Emeka ensured Nigeria finished the first period ahead when he hammered in a great strike on the stroke of time.
When Nigeria capitulated
Barry and Diassy swiftly set about putting Senegal back in front but Ogodo’s clever turn and lethal finish late in the second period set up a tense finale.
At this stage, the home crowd could only watch on as Sylla’s free-kick was followed by a bizarre goal from Fall who found the target from a corner.
With the writing on the wall for Nigeria, Sylla tied up his treble with a fine effort into the corner.
Diouf then rounded the scoring with a powerful strike that eventually sealed victory for the visitors.