Nigeria: Lagos Marines overwhelm Ivory Coast’s Riviera Golf Golden Eagles to win Sankofa Bowl II

The Lagos Marines used home field advantage to the fullest and dominated the visiting and travel-weary Riviera Golf Golden Eagles from the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) 44-16 in the second annual Sankofa Bowl held in Lagos, Nigeria in early December.

The first edition took place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 2017 and the Marines won that game 13-12.

The Sankofa Bowl is the first international American Football game in the history of West Africa and also the first 11 vs 11 international American Football game in in the history of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Golden Eagles, arrived with a roster of only 25 players only two hours before kickoff after a 26-hour, 1,000 km bus ride through five countries (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria).

The Two Teams

Lagos Marines (Nigeria)

The Lagos Marines were founded by Dominik Mueller in 2014. Coach Mueller is a former player from the Cologne Crocodiles in the German Football League. Although Lagos has a population of 14 million, American football is still a little-known sport and the Marines are the only team. The team has played games against the other football teams from Nigeria such as the Zaria Titans and the Ibom Tigers and defeated both. Their record against Nigerian teams is 2-1 as they lost one game to the Titans!

Riviera Golf Golden Eagles (Ivory Coast)

The Riviera Golf Golden Eagles are based in the neighborhood of Riviera Golf in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The team was created in 2015 by Stéphane M’Boua, a former player with the Paris Jokers in France, and also by Tieba Traoré ( former player with the Bulldogs and the Cerbères in Canada) and Ibrahim Diop (former player with the White Sharks and Météores in France) ! The team played the first American football game between two teams from Ivory Coast when they defeated their rivals the Black Scorpions of Abidjan during the Impact Bowl in April 2018.

The Game

 The Lagos Marines received the ball first and drove down to the Golden Eagles 25 yard line but the Golden Eagles defense held!

The Golden Eagles offense took over and drove into the Marines territory but also got stopped! Relying on its powerful ground game, the Marines marched the ball all the way  to the Golden Eagles 30 yard line at the end of the first quarter !

The Lagos Marines scored to open the second quarter on a touchdown pass and then converted a two point attempt to take an 8-0 lead.

A bad punt by the Golden Eagles on the next drive was returned all the way to their 20 yard line by the Marines.

Two plays later Lagos scored on a touchdown pass to increase the lead to 14-0.

The Marines scored twice more in the second quarter, first on a rushing touchdown and then on a pick six to take a 28-0 lead into the break.

The Golden Eagles offense had trouble getting into sync early in the third quarter as a bad snap led to a safety to extend the lead to 30-0 for Lagos.

However, Riviera Golf managed to close the gap to 30-8 on the next series on a broken play with the running back reversing his field racing around the opposite end to score on a 40 yard touchdown run. The two point conversion worked and the Golden Eagles crept closer.

Lagos scored on their next drive to take a 36-8 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

The Golden Eagles passing game came alive though, and within two plays reached the two yard line. Then, relying on the oldFumblerooski, Riviera Golf found the end zone to narrow the lead to 36-16 following the two-point conversion.

The Marines scored a final touchdown, adding the two-point conversion and then held off the Ivory Coast squad to finalize the score at 44-16.

Sankofa Bowl II, 1st half highlights

Source: Stephane-Frédéric Assane M’boua Nevry

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