Nigeria won two matches and lost the other to advance from Group A as runners-up to Senegal
Confederations of African Football, CAF, has released the best eleven of the group stage following the conclusion of the first phase of the 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations going on in Egypt.
Flying Eagles defender Solomon Agbalaka is the only Nigerian player that made the Team of the Group Stage after his impressive showing in Nigeria’s three matches.
While Nigeria’s loss downplayed his impressive display to Senegal on matchday one, Agbalaka was the former champion’s hero on matchday two.
The left-back scored the bullet header that handed the Flying Eagles the narrow victory over hosts Egypt.
Agbalaka was named the man of the match as Nigeria carved out a 2-0 triumph over Mozambique in the last group game. The teenager bagged the assist to Ibrahim Mohammed’s stunning second goal in that encounter.
And his brilliance has been further rewarded as he slotted into the left-back role in CAF’s best team of the first round.
Joining Agbalaka are four players from Senegal, two from Congo and Uganda, and one from Benin and Gambia. Gambia’s head coach Abdoulie Bojang was placed in charge of the team.
The players from Uganda are right centre-half Torach Ochaki and forward Rogers Mugisha.
Senegal’s goalkeeper Landing Badji takes the gloves, with Benin’s Abdoul Rachid and The Gambia’s Alagie Saine joining Agbalaka and Ochaki in a four-man defence.
Senegal’s duo of Mamadou Camara and Pape Diop teams up with Congo’s Prince Soussou to complete the three-man midfield.
Congo’s centre-forward Deogracia Basinga is flanked by Uganda’s Mugisha and Senegal’s Papa Diallo.
Nigeria will face the Ugandans in the quarter-finals of the U-20 AFCON on Thursday, March 2, for a place in the semifinals.
All the four semi-finalists will represent Africa at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia later in the year.