Colourful character

CHRIS STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

Ladan Bosso has obviously nothing in common with Pat Burns. He's probably never heard of John Tortorella.

Bosso is the boss of the triumphant Nigerian team which yesterday advanced to the elite eight at FIFA's U-20 championship with a

2-1 win over Zambia at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa.

Burns and Tortorella lead NHL coaches in sneers when it comes to questioning by the great unwashed (and that's saying something in Burns' case because he's been out of the game for years battling cancer).

Bosso complimented almost every reporter on his question ("That's a good one," he said of an inquiry about having to get his players to play more selflessly) and uttered a crisp "thank you," after answering most questions.

Bosso also complimented the Zambian side.

"I see improvement in the Zambian team, so I praise them for that," he said.

That made Zambian coach George Lwandamina clap his hands together enthusiastically and say, "thank you."

When the formal press conference after the Nigerian win was over, Lwandamina stood up from the table and said, "Okay, coach," and forcefully hugged Bosso. Bosso stepped down from the podium and hugged the reporters.

Love was in the air. I wonder what he's going to do if they win their next game?

HEAR AND THERE

Steve Banyard handles the play-by-play for the world television feed of the

U-20 tournament (it's going out to about 190 countries) and he works solo. That's different for us here in North America who are used to three voices coming at us.

"I feel there are two of us, me and the viewer," said Banyard before calling yesterday's game. "I like to give the viewer space to get into the game and see for themselves what's going on.

"I'm not going to tell them stuff they can already see for themselves. First and foremost, it's about the game."

What a novel concept.

REVELATIONS

A nice touch before the game was players on both teams raising their arms over their heads and applauding the fans ... The Nigerians had a band that played through the whole game from the upper deck of the South Side (horn section, too. Pretty impressive.). They travelled all the way from Nigeria to Victoria for the first round. Talk about a band on the run. They're off to Montreal next.

THE BUZZ

Nigeria's Brown Ideye had a rough couple of minutes early in the game. He fired a shot wide from about 10 yards out and then, with the open side staring him in the face, had Zambia's William Njobvu make a great defensive play to snuff the pass ... After Echiejile headed in his goal, he started running toward the North Side. Then, realizing the big Nigerian contingent was in the upper deck of the South Side, he reversed his field and sprinted over there instead.


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