Scanty Crowd At U17 Matches: 61 Goals Needed To Beat Tournament Record–Eniola Olatunji


The world U17 male soccer championship is poorly attended. Records show that attendance to the 36 matches played so far is 102,657 (an average of 2,852 fans per match) at the four designated venues.
The four venues and their per match capacity are Estado Serrinha -9,900 capacity; Estadio Olimpico – 13,500; Estadio Bezerrao – 20,310; Estadio Kleber Andrade – 21,000.
Of this figure, a total 2,106 fans were at the stands to watch Nigeria at the two venues where the team played their three matches. Records show that 944 spectators watched Nigeria v Hungary; 311 watched against Ecuador both matches played at Olympico and 851 wereat the stands to see Nigeria v Australia at Bezerao. These figures show that for the Nigerian matches alone the Brazilian Football Federation were only able to achieve 4.5% of crowd attendance.
Unconfirmed reports from Brazil says the state of poverty in the country does not allow for the luxury of attending stadium to watch football yet the whole world thinks the god of soccer resides in Brazil. In fact, there is a viral video of young folks snatching properties of visitors on the streets of Brazil unmolested. Some Journalists state that the Brazilian Police are on red alert each time an international sporting event takes place in the country.
However, a total 123 goals have been scored in the 36 of the 52 matches played at the group stages that ended early Monday morning. It is an average of 3.4 goals per match. That is 60goals short of the highest goals scored in a tournament. That means the teams have to score at least 4 goals per match in the rest 16 matches to surpass the existing record.
Incidentally Noah Botic of Australia is the highest goal scorer with 4 goals from the 5 scored by that country; four players have three goals to their names and they are Ibrahim Said of Nigeria; Pape Sarr of Senegal; Degnaud Gnonto of Italy and Efraim Alverez of Mexico. They are all eligible to win the Golden boot for highest goal scorer.
The red card remain at 8 with non-issued at the third round of the group stages, Mexico had two bad boys in Eugenio Puga and Rafael Orte. A red card means that player misses the next match in any tournament organized by the owners of the completion. Two yellow cards to the same player also make the player miss the next match. In the fair play determination, yellow card means 1 point deduction; Indirect red card (second yellow card) means 3 points deduction; Direct Red Card means 4 points deduction and yellow card and direct red card means 5 points deduction. No red card for any African player.
The yellow card rose to 115 from 73 after the second round. On a check by this reporter, it was discovered that the 16 teams advancing into the round of 16 accounted for 68 of the yellow cards. The worst was in the Mexico v Italy second round match where 4 yellow cards were issued to each team. Italy is second on recipients list with 6; Senegal is highest with 7 while four countries Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina and Angola had 5 each. Australia, France, Chile and Korea have 4 yellows each. Nigeria, Brazil, Netherlands and Spain have 3 each while Japan has 2 and Ecuador only one yellow. Nigeria got the yellows one in the match against Ecuador and two against Australia.
Three teams were recorded to have won the U17 trophy at their debut namely Nigeria in 1985, Soviet Union in 1987 and Switzerland in 2009 here in Nigeria. Nigeria has impeccable records in this class; five times champions 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015; eight times most two top finishers and eight times top three finishers.

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