Nigeria’s Dream Team will be one of the eight finaists at the 2nd African U-23 Championship in Senegal later in the year after a battling 0-0 draw with Congo-Brazzaville in Pointe-Noire on Sunday. Samson Siasia’s wards won the first leg 2-1 and thus qualify for the finals in Senegal.
A tough game that it was expected to be, the Nigerians gave no inch to the home team right from the blast of the whistle, and looked the more likely to get a goal after four corner kicks inside the first half –hour. But the Congolese held on.
The aggregate victory means Nigeria can continue its quest for a seventh appearance at the Men’s Football Tournament of the Olympics, since first turning out at the 1968 Games in Mexico City.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick immediately saluted the team: “Personally, I am very excited. From the way the boys played in the first leg, I never doubted their ability to qualify. The NFF is proud of the team and will ensure that the team adequately prepares for the African Championship.”
Nigeria joins host Senegal, Algeria, Zambia, Egypt, South Africa and Tunisia in the finals to be staged 28 November – 11 December, and at which the top three teams will fly Africa’s flag at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year. A fourth team will play off against an Asian team.
Either of Mali or Gabon will emerge on Sunday evening to complete the field.