The Golden Eaglets needed extra time to beat the hosts in the final of the continental championship at Lome's Kegue stadium, with Kabiru Akinsola scoring the goal that broke local hearts and which ended the sequence of wins for home teams in African junior competitions over the last two years.

Akinsola's winner was scored just a minute into the second half of extra time and ensured Nigeria's second success in an African U-17 championship, following on from their last triumph in 2001. The substitute outwitted two defenders before firing off a powerful shot which caught the goalkeeper unaware.

The result was made all the more remarkable as Yemi Tella's side had gone into the match without inspirational duo Haruna Lackman and Joshua Daniel, who were both carrying injuries. Added to that they also had a partisan 25,000-strong crowd to deal with, but they still came up trumps.

It proved to be a just reward for Nigeria's dominance during the 120 minutes and the entire tournament, as they won all of their five matches, scoring 15 and conceding just one goal against Ghana.

However, poor finishing let the Golden Eaglets down throughout the first 90 minutes and forced the game into extra time. Nigeria were almost left to rue their profligacy in front of goal as Togo could have snatched an unlikely win in the final minutes of normal time when Camaldine Abraw missed the targetwith the Nigerian goalkeeper Oladele Ajibye already beaten.

"We showed we were the better team in this championship," said coach Tella, upon winning the first major trophy of his career.

Some consolation
Beaten finalists Togo join Nigeria at the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup in the Korea Republic later this year, as do Ghana and Tunisia, the defeated semi-finalists.

Ghana's Black Starlets beat Tunisia 1-0 for the bronze medal, the goal coming midway through the first half from Saddick Adams.

Ghana's veteran coach Fred Osam Duodo had been in charge of Gambia's team that won the Africa U-17 championship two years ago and was looking for an unlikely double in the history of the tournament.

However, Ghana lost 2-1 to Togo in their semi-final tie and were also beaten 2-0 by Nigeria in the group stage.

The Golden Eaglets set the tone for their triumph by beating Eritrea 8-0 in their opening match, swiftly ending the Red Sea state's hope of a shock win at their first continental championship.

Eritrea, who had eliminated Libya, Egypt and Zambia in the preliminaries, conceded 17 goals in their three group games as Ghana hit six past them and Burkina Faso also beat them by three goals to nil. They did not score but the experience is still likely to be a boost for the future of the underrated country on the African footballing stage.