Niger savour unforgettable goal and historic triumph
Salim Abdourahmane notched his country's first strike at a world finals
He will treasure the shirt and boots he wore in Kochi
Coach Tiemoko analysed the win and looked ahead
A mixture of tiredness and satisfaction was written across Salim Abdourahmane's face, but he was quick to break into a grin when asked about his goal. After all, it was not any old effort, but rather an historic strike – one that earned Niger a 1-0 victory on their debut at a FIFA tournament.
"I'll watch the replay as many times as I can!" the 16-year-old told FIFA.com after his cool finish put Korea DPR to the sword in both teams' FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 opener.
"When the ball hit the net, I went nuts. I thought about the fact that the entire country would be watching on television and how my family would be buzzing back at home. It's a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life."
Just like the No19 shirt and the boots he was wearing on the night in Kochi: "I'm going to keep them forever. As well as a wonderful memento, they'll be a piece of my country's football history. When I'm a dad, I'll be able to proudly show them to my kids."
After this talk of history and the future, Abdourahmane made a point of turning the focus back to the present and his side's prospects in India. "I'm happy that my goal helped the team. The win is what matters most," he enthused.
More to come Niger coach Ismaila Tiemoko cut a more serious figure, barely allowing himself the faintest of smiles when congratulated on the result. "Considering it's our first game at a tournament of this nature, we're satisfied. I think the whole country should be pleased with the victory," he said, clearly keen not to get carried away.
Analysing the match, he highlighted his charges' lack of ruthlessness after the goal, which meant that they failed to kill off the contest. "I think that's down to a lack of experience. We're working hard to improve, but it takes time to gain that nous."
Time is something that this set of players have plenty of, in Tiemoko's view. "They are the future of Nigerien football. The country is going to host the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 and they will form the spine of that squad."
As for the current competition, the tactician insisted that he is not afraid of Spain, Niger's next opponents in India, or Brazil, whom they meet in their final Group D fixture. "Facing those countries is a daunting proposition in senior football, but not at this level. This tournament is wide open."