U-23 AFCON: Shambolic Olympic Team Drew Guinea In Abuja
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By Our Correspondent
Nigeria’s U-23 male team, the Olympic Team has a lot of work to do if they would qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris after they were held to a scoreless draw by Guinea in the first leg final round of qualifiers the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON in Abuja on Wednesday.
The U-23 AFCON tournament which holds in Morocco in November this year will serve as Paris Olympic Games qualifier with the best three teams representing Africa
The coach Salisu Yusuf led lads were shambolic and uninspiring in a match they needed to wrap up at home and make the return leg on Tuesday a mere formality
The team which failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, failed to take advantage of home soil with sizeable number spectators at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium and finished their U-23 Africa Cup of Nations final qualifying fixture.
Success Makanjuola and Timilehin Ogunniyi, who ran Tanzania out of gas in Ibadan in October last year, could not produce the same fiery performance as Guinea stifled Nigeria’s midfield play, created chances of their own and were solid at the rear.
In the 28th minute, Ogunniyi rocked the crossbar from a free-kick 20 yards out on the right, but that turned out the major effort of the Olympic Eagles in a tepid game that did not quite live up to its billing.
Makanjuola’s inswinger in the 45th minute was parried from danger by goalkeeper Mory Keita.
In the second half, the visitors came quite close when Ousmane Camara hit the upright from a corner kick. Ifeanyi Ogba blasted a couple of opportunities wide, and in the 64th minute, Jonathan Alukwu watched in agony as Keita punched away his shot when Nigeria flowed forward.
On the dot of time, Nigerian defender Christopher Nwaeze was handed the red card for a second bookable offence, and will miss the return leg in Rabat on Tuesday.
Nigerian fans who were vociferous in their support, expressed disappointment with the team’s performance.