Nigeria miss out on the Olympics as Salisu’s men fall to Guinea

The Olympic Eagles played a goalless draw against Guinea in their AFCON qualifier

U-23 AFCON Nigeria miss out on the Olympics as Salisu’s men fall to Guinea

Joba Ogunwale 21:01 - 28.03.2023

The 1996 Olympic champions will miss the games for the second consecutive tournament after failing to beat Guinea.

Nigeria’s U23 team will play no part in the men’s football event of next year’s Olympics after they were knocked out of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers by Guinea. 

The Olympic Eagles had played a goalless draw in the first leg at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, but they fell to a 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture in Morocco on Tuesday night. 

Nigeria had reached the final qualifying stage by beating Tanzania 2-1 on aggregate after playing a 1-1 draw in Dar es Salaam before they beat the same team 2-0 at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan. 

Nigeria pay the price for a poor first leg

Following the win, they were pitted against the Guineans in the final qualifying round. The first leg took place in Abuja last week, but despite creating a few chances, Salisu’s men could not find the breakthrough. 

The result left Nigeria with a mountain to climb going into Tuesday’s night clash. The Olympic Eagles did well to keep Guinea at bay in the opening 45 minutes, but their resistance was finally broken in the 61st minute as the hosts took the lead. 

Nigeria's Olympic misery continue 

Nigeria coach Salisu Yusuf tried to galvanise his team, but it did not work as Guinea doubled their lead 13 minutes from time. 

Although Nigeria piled late pressure, Guinea held on for a 2-0 aggregate win after playing a goalless draw in the first leg.

The result means Nigeria will not participate in the U23 Africa Cup of Nations later this year and subsequently the Paris 2024 Olympics last year. 

The U23 AFCON serves as the qualifier for the men’s football event of the Olympics, but the Olympic Eagles' failure to beat Guinea mean they will not play in the event next year. 

Nigeria’s result should not come as a surprise, as their preparation for the clash was far from ideal. 

Salisu 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. 

With the boys out, Nigeria’s hopes of playing in the football event of next year’s Olympics now rest on the Super Falcons.

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