The national U-23 team, Olympic Eagles yesterday pummelled their counterparts from Sudan 5-0 in Asaba to qualify for the 2019 U-23 AFCON to be staged in Egypt later in the year.
The Eagles had lost the first leg of the final round of the AFCON qualifiers 1-0 at the Al Merriekh Stadium in Omdurman last Thursday but came out smoking at the Stephen Keshi stadium to win 5-1 on aggregate.
The Nigerian side showed their intent to earn a slot in the AFCON finals when Taiwo Awoniyi in the 8th minute opened scoring with a header from a rebound.
That early goal set the pace for what was expected from the game when in the 26th minute, Effrong Ndifreke scored to double the Eagles’ lead.
With the mercurial Kelechi Nwakali, John Lazarus, Ibrahim Sunusi and Captain Azubuike Okechukwu running the show, Ndifreke mathematically ended the hopes of the visitors with his second goal to make it 3-0 in the 44th minute.
The Olympic Eagles continued from where they stopped in the first half when in the 66th minute, Sunday Faleye nodded in Nigeria’s fourth goal just as reigning Nigeria Professional Football League topscorer Sunusi Ibrahim scored the fifth goal to ensure that Eagles will be among the teams at AFCON U23 in Egypt.
It will be recalled that Nigeria won the second edition of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Senegal in December 2015, beating Algeria in the final, and both teams then represented Africa at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where the Olympic Eagles won the bronze medals.
The third edition of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations will be staged in Egypt from 8th – 22nd November.