Olympic Eagles vs Libya
A 0-2 loss in the first leg of their second round, first leg encounter against Libya’s U23 squad means Cup holders Nigeria must achieve a high –score win over the North Africans to avoid early elimination from this year’s U23 AFCON finals, and cumulatively 2020 Olympic Games.
Africa’s three flagbearers at the Men’s Football Tournament of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo will emerge from the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Egypt in November. And only a massive win over Libya at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba today Monday and success in the final round of qualifiers in three months’ time will make Nigeria eligible to defend her title in Egypt, and the will to fight for an Olympics ticket.
One goal in each half in the Tunisian city of Ben Guerdane on Wednesday, plus a goalkeeper expelled for ball –handling outside the box, was the summary of a poor outing by the Olympic Eagles.
Former U17 World Cup winners Kelechi Nwakali, Samuel Chukwueze and Taiwo Awoniyi, who were in Ben Guerdane, arrived with and have been training with the Olympic Eagles, but Nigeria have also chiseled out goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defenders Chidozie Awaziem, Valentine Ozornwafor and striker Victor Osimhen from the senior team to help.
In October last year, the Super Eagles overpowered Libya’s senior team home and away to brighten chances of qualification for the 2019 AFCON (which they have since secured), and the U23 squad would be determined to wrest this encounter from the Libyans to maintain the storyline.
The Confederation of African Football has appointed Kenyan officiating officials for Monday’s game, with Anthony Ogwayo as referee. Oliver Omondi Odhiambo is assistant referee 1 and Tony Mudanyi Kidiya the assistant referee 2 while Israel Lemayian Mpaima is the fourth official.
The match commissioner is Marcelin Gaha Djiadeu from Cameroon. The make-or-break encounter starts at 4pm.