Nigeria will not be one of Africa’s representatives at the 2020 Olympic Games after crashing out of the ongoing U23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The Dream Team VII and South Africa played out a goalless draw in their final group game of the tournament at the Al Salam Stadium yesterday, a result that saw Coach Imama Amapakabo’s side finish third behind Ivory Coast and Amaglug-glug. The Ivorians defeated Zabia 1-0 to finish second .
Nigeria U23 coach Amapakabo sent out the same starting XI that secured the win over Zambia last time out in Cairo.
Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges as the Rainbow Nation dropped back to draw the Nigerian press, and after Anthony Izuchukwu had failed to keep his header down from Kelechi Nwakali’s corner, it was Ndifreke Effiong who forced Darren Johnson into parrying for a corner.
Ibrahim Sunusi could have put the Olympic Eagles ahead in the 25th minute but his tame effort missed target to the left side of goal.
Nigeria goaltender Adamu Abubakar was called into action at the other end when he smothered Kamohelo Mahlatsi effort aimed at the top corner of his goal.
Nigeria rode their luck a couple of occasions in the game, with the likes of Siyabonga Ngezana, Mahlatsi and Katlego Mohamme looking dangerous deep into the second half.
Second half substitute Sunday Faleye could have won it for Nigeria deep into stoppage time but he could only send his header wide from the centre of the box after Taiwo Awoniyi had set him up with a good cross.