The game ended 3-1 and ensured the Flying Eagles qualify for the AYC championship
Nigeria’s male U-20 team, the Flying Eagles, will have a chance to defend the trophy they won two years ago in South Africa as they qualified for next year’s Africa Youth Championships after they defeated South Africa, 3-1, to advance, 4-2, on aggregate.
Flying Eagles coach, John Obuh, commended the resilience of the South Africans in the match played on Sunday.
“They are a very good team and they kept us on our toes from start to finish,” said Obuh. “Kudos to the entire team for putting in their best to ensure we will be in Algeria to now defend our crown.”
The Flying Eagles took the game from the first blast of the whistle, but it was not until the 38th minute that the Eagles scored. Abduljaleel Ajagun turned smartly inside the six-yard box before firing past the South African goalkeeper, Lebo Ngubeni.
But almost immediately the Amajita drew level on the back of a quick counter attack as the Nigerian team seem to still be celebrating their opening goal. It was danger man, Thabani Mthembu, who scored for South Africa, just as he had done two weeks ago in Nelspruit.
“It was a mistake on our part as we over celebrated our goal and we got punished for it,” lamented Obuh after this exciting clash between two good sides.
The game was then delicately balanced at 1-1 before Ajagun delivered the best goal of the day on 45 minutes when he blasted home into the roof of the net to the relief of the big crowd at the Kwara State Stadium.
Enugu Rangers striker, Alhaji Gero, further settled the nerves of the home crowd when he slipped home a stylish through ball by the outstanding Ajagun.
However, the visitors did not give up the fight as they opened up and took the game to their hosts.
Goalkeeper and skipper, Samuel Okani, was at his best as he kept out a goal-bound shot in the 74th minute. Again in stoppage time, Okani tipped another effort for a corner as Amajita continued to press for another goal. Okorie was forced to clear into the side netting for a corner as South Africa kept on the pressure.
When the Ghanaian referee blew the final whistle,N igerian players, officials, and fans erupted into a wild celebration.