Nigeria’s male U-20 team, the Flying Eagles, on Friday fulfilled their twin ambition with their final group game at the ongoing Africa U20 Cup of Nations.
The Flying Eagles secured a 1-0 win over hosts Niger Republic in the keenly contested game played in Niamey.
Adamu Alhassan with a sumptuous freekick in the 73rd minute scored what turned to be the only goal of Friday’s encounter as the Flying Eagles zoomed into the semi-final of the Africa U20 Cup of Nations and by extension qualified for the U-20 World Cup to be staged in Poland later this year.
Before Friday’s game, Coach Paul Aigbogun had confessed that the game against the host was most crucial for the Flying Eagles who earlier defeated Burundi and drew 0-0 with South Africa.
“This is our most important match of the tournament so far. There would be no looking back. We are playing the host team but our minds are made up to go all out. Only a win can guarantee us a place in Poland.
“Of course, we noticed a few things in the first two matches we played. The corrections we have made would help us greatly in Friday’s match.” He had assured.
Needing a win to snatch a World Cup ticket early when they took on South Africa on Tuesday, Aigbogun’s wards made hard work of it, with the match ending 0-0.
They have however delivered with the win over their counterparts from Niger.
Flying Eagles Goalkeeper Olawale Oremade is yet to concede at this tournament having kept another clean sheet on Friday.
With Nigeria and South Africa sealing their places on Friday, three of Africa’s flagbearers at this summer’s FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland have been known. Senegal, who play Burkina Faso in Maradi on Saturday, have already picked a ticket while Burkina Faso are eliminated after two losses in as many matches.