Football’s world governing body, FIFA, have admitted their error in awarding Nigerian captain Kelechi Nwakali the bronze boot of the recently-concluded FIFA U-17 World Cup finals in Chile.
In a letter to the Nigeria Football Federation General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, and signed by Mustapha Fahmy, Director of the Football Division, the world body wrote: “We made a mistake at the closing ceremony of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 with the distribution of the adidas Bronze Boot.
“Instead of player no. 8 of Nigeria, Samuel Chukwueze, the player Kelechi Nwakali (player no. 10 of Nigeria) received the adidas Bronze Boot. However, if two or more players are still equal (after goals and assists), the player who has played fewer number of minutes will be ranked first.
“With this in mind, adidas will send you another Bronze Boot in December 2015, which we would kindly ask you to hand over to Samuel Chukwueze. Please be informed that Kelechi Nwakali may keep his trophy.”
The abstract attached to the letter showed that while Nigerian Victor Osimhen scored 10 goals and made two assists to win the Golden Boot, Johannes Eggestein of Germany scored four goals to win the Silver Boot. Nwakali, who was voted Most Valuable Player of the Tournament and earned the Golden Ball, tied with compatriot Chukwueze for third place with three goals and three assists.
However, Nwakali played more minutes (630 minutes) as against Chukwueze’s 535 minutes.
Both Nwankali and Chukwueze have been on the radar of top European clubs after their exploits in Chile.