Flying Eagles goalkeeper, Detan Ogundare explained that the strenuous tutorials he had on penalty kicks with their goalkeeper trainer, Shuaibu Suleiman was among the reasons he made some crucial saves that handed Nigeria a place in the final of the African Games on Tuesday.
Ogundare made about four saves to ensure that Nigeria Under 20 suffered no second spot-kick heartache to the Malians in the semi-final of the African Games played in Rabat.
The Flying Eagles were stopped in the semi-final of the CAF U17 AFCON in Niger Republic on penalties by the same Junior Eagles of Mali but the Nigerian team managed to scrape through by the skin of their teeth due to the penalty kick saves of Ogundare.
The game had ended goalless just like in Niamey in February and during the penalty kicks that ensued after the regulation time failed to produce any goals the Flying Eagles lost their opening three spot-kicks.
They, however, relied on the heroics of Ogundare to stay on in the game who saved all the three spot-kicks taken by the Malians.
The Flying Eagles went ahead to win 5-4 on penalties to qualify for the gold medal match of the African Games currently ongoing in Morocco.
Ogundare said he was very calm throughout the regulation time and the penalty kicks because the goalkeeper trainer had drilled and tutored him on the steps to take to ensure that he comes to the rescue of his teammates if the need arises.
“It was a nice game today and I was so happy and excited that I was the hero of the game,” Ogundare said in quote received from the Flying Eagles media and made available to DaSportsTainment247.com.
“We trained very hard for the penalty kicks. Coach Shuaibu Suleiman trained us very hard on it. I had no cause to panic or be afraid during the penalty kicks.
“I was calm and confident. I was also full of excitement even while the spot-kicks were ongoing. It was so great that I was able to save some penalty kicks.
“What was going on in my mind was that having trained very hard on penalties was to go out and make Nigerians proud. I thank God it came the way we expected it.”
The Flying Eagles will trade tackles with familiar foes, Burkina Faso in the final on Friday while Senegal and Mali will contest the bronze medal tie.