Despite Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) apology and a pledge to Nigerians that the country’s National U-23 male team would make amends for their shambolic performance against the Young Syli Nationale of Guinea, the Olympic Eagles Tuesday failed to qualify for the 2023 AFCON and by extension the 2024 Olympics.
The coach Salisu Yusuf tutored side was beaten 2-0 by Guinea in the return leg of the 2023 AFCON qualifier in Rabat, Morocco to effectively shut out Nigeria from next year’s Olympic Games in France.
The 2023 AFCON to be staged in Morocco between June 24- July 8 will also serve as qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic Games.
It will be recalled that the Olympic Eagles had failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after they finished second in Group B at the 2019 ACON in Egypt.
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In yesterday’s match, the Guineans built on the impressive first leg’s barren draw in Abuja and even as the first half ended in another scoreless draw, they looked like the side that was going to break the deadlock in the second half.
Expectedly, it was Algassime Bah who opened the scoring for the hosts before Alseny Soumah put the match beyond the Olympic Eagles with the second from a direct free kick with thirteen minutes to regulation time.
Faced with defeat, the baby Eagles did everything for at least a more respectable scoreline but their efforts proved abortive and their dream of an Olympic appearance evaporated into thin air.
The last time Nigeria qualified for the Olympics male football event was in 2016 when the John Mikel Obi inspired squad finished with a bronze medal in Brazil.
It will also be recalled that after the 0-0 draw with Guinea at the MKO Abiola National stadium in Abuja, the NFF issued a statement apologising to the generality of Nigerians with a pledge that the two teams would turn their qualifying games around in a positive way.
However, only the Super Eagles managed a slim 1-0 win in the return leg against Guinea Bissau as the Olympic Eagles failed woefully in yesterday’s match against Guinea in Rabat.
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