Nigeria’s U23 team began their quest to qualify for the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Egypt on an impressive note on Saturday as they secured a valuable away draw against Tanzania, Abbeylivenetwork.com reports.
Captain Success Makanjuola netted for Nigeria in the 29th minute, after Qudus Akanni was fouled in the hosts’ vital area, and the 1996 champions thereafter created a number of chances that with a little more precision, would have put the match to bed by half time.
The home team piled on the pressure in the second period at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, and hit the crossbar on two occasions before Djiboutian referee Souleiman Ahmed Djama awarded them a penalty that was brilliantly converted in the 74th minute.
The Olympic Eagles fought tenaciously to earn a winner, with their minds on the $20,000 pledge for victory by the Chairman of NFF’s task force for youth competitions, Alhaji Aminu Balele Kurfi, but it was not to be. However, the boys return to the country on Sunday with their heads held high and determined to finish off the task with success when they host the Tanzanians at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan on Saturday next week.
Victory on aggregate will take the Olympic Eagles to the next round of the qualifiers, which final tournament has been scheduled for the Kingdom of Morocco 2nd – 26th November 2023.
Morocco will host the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations which will serve as qualifiers for the 2024 Summer Olympics men’s football tournament in France.