Nigeria’s Olympic team, the U-23 Eagles, yesterday defeated their Tanzania counterpart, the Junior Taifa 2-0 (3-1 on aggregate), to progress to the next round of continental qualification ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The Olympic Eagles had played 1-1 in the first leg at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dares Salaam, Tanzania, before sealing qualification in the reverse fixture played at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday.
Nigeria will now meet the winner between Ugandan and Guinea for a spot in the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations to hold in Morocco. The tourney in Morocco would be qualifiers for Paris 2024 Olympic Games football event.
Tanzania’s Junior Taifa had battled the U-23 Eagles to a stalemate in the first half, as star boy, Oluwatimilehin Abiodun Ogunniyi and Edmund John and Dominic Ohaka battled to subdue the defence of the visitors to no avail.
On resumption of the second half, the Nigerian side kept mounting pressure on the defence of the Tanzanians until Ogunniyi broke the deadlock, scoring the opener by blasting a shot past the Tanzania goalkeeper, Aboutwaleeb Mshery, to put the host in the lead.
The second goal was scored by team captain, Success Makanjuola, through a penalty awarded against Goalkeeper Mshery, after he brought down Ogunniyi in his 18-yard box.
It will be recalled that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State gave the U-23 Eagles the sum of N10 million as a morale booster and another promise of $25,000 should the team claim the three maximum points against the Tanzanians.
This is in addition to the sum of N500,000 promised the team for every goal in yesterday’s game, among other pledges, by the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Task Force on Youth Competitions, Alhaji Aminu Balele Kurfi