Nigeria’s pathway to the semifinal of the 2019 AFCON U23 Championships is crystal clear: beat South Africa. No more, no less.
The Olympic Eagles will on Friday square up against the Amagluglug in the final Group B tie knowing that any other result aside a clear victory – huge or narrow – will get them thrown out of a tournament they were considered to be among the favourites to win.
Matchday 3⃣ is around the corner!
— CAF (@CAF_Online) November 13, 2019
Coach Imama Amapakabo’s boys currently sit second in the group with three points garnered thanks to a delightful 3-1 win over Zambia a few days ago.
A first half goal from Orji Okonkwo cancelled out a Patson Daka’s opener for Zambia before second half strikes from Kelechi Nwakali – a classy free kick, no less – and Taiwo Awoniyi ensured the Olympic Eagles claimed maximum points at Al-Salam Stadium.
And more of the same is expected from the lads against the Amagluglug.
But in South Africa the Baby Eagles face a much tougher opposition.
The Amagluglug are the only side yet to concede a goal at this tournament and after securing four points from a possible six, they need only a draw to book their place in the next round.
However, if there is any team that can get the better of coach David Notoane’s lads, it is the Nigerians who were the winners of this tournament four years ago and presently boast of an exciting blend of Europe-based youngsters.
There could be a glimmer of hope, though, should the defending champions draw with the boys from Nelson Mandela’s country.
To be decided simultaneously is the other group match between Ivory Coast and Zambia.
The Ivorians have three points gained from their triumph over Nigeria on match day 1 but a stalemate with the Zambians could open the highway for the Olympic Eagles to zoom into the semifinal even with a draw.
Nigeria however will be smart to grab their destiny with their own hands by claiming the victory that would render any result recorded in the other game of little concern to their aspirations.
It’s do or die for the Olympic Eagles, a pressurized situation that should motivate the team to shed sweat and blood for their fatherland. South Africa are aware that a draw will be enough to see them through and that could put them at a psychologically disadvantaged position.
Betting Tip: Nigeria To Win.