Nigeria’s Olympic Eagles, have been eliminated from the men’s football event of the upcoming Olympics after losing to Guinea in the under-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Nigeria had reached the final qualifying stage by defeating Tanzania 2-1 on aggregate. However, they were unable to find a breakthrough against Guinea in the first leg, which ended in a goalless draw. This left them with a difficult task in the second leg, which was played in Morocco. Despite creating a few chances, the Olympic Eagles fell to a 2-0 defeat, which meant that Guinea progressed with a 2-0 aggregate win.
The under-23 Africa Cup of Nations serves as the qualifier for the men’s football event of the Olympics. Therefore, Nigeria’s failure to beat Guinea means that they will not participate in the event next year in Paris.
This will come as a disappointment to Nigerian football fans, who had hoped that the team would be able to replicate the success of the country’s U23 team, which won the football event of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Nigeria’s preparation for the match was also far from ideal, which may have contributed to their defeat. The team’s coach, Salisu Yusuf, had to call up about 16 new players after several players from his initial list had to pull out of the squad due to age controversy. This disruption to the team’s preparations may have affected their cohesion and ability to perform on the pitch.
The Super Falcons, Nigeria’s women’s national team, will now carry the country’s hopes for participation in the football event of the Olympics next year.