Nigeria 5 Sudan 0: Can the Olympic Eagles defend their U-23 AFCON title in Egypt?
Tension gripped Nigerian football lovers as the possibility of elimination steered the Dream Team following a first-leg loss to Sudan. After a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, there were fears that the team may not return to the global stage again.
They bounced back with a resounding 5-0 win in the return leg at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba.
The result means that they have progressed to the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt scheduled to hold from November
They would get to defend the title they won in 2015. Another reward will be that the top three teams in the competition get an automatic ticket to partake in the men’s football event of the 2020 Olympic Games scheduled to hold in Tokyo, Japan.
The team led by Imama Amapakabo is a gathering of young talent such as Huesca midfielder Kelechi Nwakali, Genk forward Stephen Odey and Mainz point man Taiwo Awoniyi. Others eligible players below the age of 23 such as Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, are expected to join up before the start of the tournament.
The team has potential and have shown that they can rise to the occasion with two comeback return leg victories against Libya and Sudan. Talent is not a problem for this team but can they be champions of Africa? Join the conversation
If they can prepare on time and very well before the competition begins in Egypt, they may likely defend the title. I watched how the U23 team destroy the Sudanese U23 team by 5-0. Chibuike Azubike, Taiwo Awoniyi, Okechukwu Odeh, John Lazarus, Sunday Falaye, Kelechi Nwakali, Sanusi Gbadamosi and Idifreke Effiong all impressed. The future of Nigeria’s football is bright and in safe hands with these guys.