Profligate Golden Eaglets of Nigeria are set to battle South Africa today in a make –or-mar final Group B match at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-17 Championship in Algeria.
Having won one and lost one match so far, anything short of at least a draw against South Africa would effectively end the two-time AFCON champions’ dream of reaching the next FIFA World Championship.
The Golden Eaglets who have been wasteful in front of goal found themselves in the precarious situation after they were piped 1-0 by Morocco in their second Group match on Wednesday.
An own goal by Tochukwu Ogboji as early as the 2nd minute was all the Moroccans, who downed South Africa’s Amajimbo 2-0 on the opening day, needed to make it within a step of booking a spot at this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup.
As happened in their opening match against Zambia, the Eaglets created chance after chance but pathetically lacked precision in front of goal.
Abubakar Abdullahi should have done better than balloon the ball skywards after Emmanuel Michael put him through in the 21st minute, and captain Precious Williams also failed to make hay as the North Africans mounted an impregnable rearguard.
However, against South Africa, victory is imperative in order to be assured of qualification to the last eight and a chance to reach the FIFA World Cup which they have won a record five times.