Nigeria outwitted the East Africans to set up a date with Guinea as the race for Morocco 2023 heats up
Nigeria U-23 national men’s team carved out a hard-fought 2-0 win over Tanzania in Ibadan on Saturday to advance to the third round of the u23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series.
The Dream Team concluded the second-round fixtures with a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Tanzanians.
After battling to a 1-1 draw in Tanzania last weekend, coach Salisu Yusuf and his boys knew any manner of win on home soil would see off the challenge of the East Africans.
And after a goalless first half, Timileyin Ogunniyi broke the deadlock for the Dream Team in the 62nd minute.
Success Makanjuola doubled Nigeria’s advantage via a well-struck penalty kick seven minutes later.
Hard as they tried, the Tanzanians could not break down the Nigerian defence until the end of the encounter.
With the two-goal victory, the Dream Team will get a cash gift of N1 million from Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa.
The Sivasspor forward had promised the u23 side five hundred thousand naira for every goal scored against the Tanzanians in Ibadan.
@NGSuperEagles captain, Ahmed Musa in a phone conversation with Nigeria's U23 Team, Olympic Eagles has promised the team N500,000 per goal against Tanzania on Saturday in Ibadan. pic.twitter.com/csWYegEoiy— OyoNews (@OyoNews1) October 28, 2022
Aside from the cash reward, the Olympic Eagles have also sealed their passage to the third round of the Africa U23 Cup of Nations qualifiers, where they will face the Guinea u23 national team.
Nigeria will host the Guineans in the first leg of the two-legged qualifier on March 20, 2023, before taking on the same opponents seven days later in the return fixture.
The winner of the two encounters will progress to the Afcon proper to be hosted by Morocco in June next year.
The top three teams at that tournament will be Africa’s representatives at the 2024 Olympic Games in France.
The Nigeria Dream Team is the first African side to win football gold at the Olympics, achieving the feat at Atlanta ’96.
The team has since won a silver medal at the 2008 edition of the Olympics and a bronze in 2016.