Nigeria progressed to the 2019 U23 AFCON after beating Sudan 5-0 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium to win 5-1 on aggregate.
The Nigerian team had lost the first leg 1-0 in Omdurman last week.
Taiwo Awoniyi scored an early opener for the Olympic Eagles, with Ndifreke Effiong contributing a brace. Ibrahim Sunusi and Sunday Faleye then scored one apiece to complete the route.
Here, we take a look at FIVE things you may have missed from the game
Heavy, heavy Olympic Eagles
The Olympic Eagles walloped their Sudanese counterparts 5-0 to progress 5-1 on aggregate.
From Kelechi Nwakali to Ndifreke Effiong down to Taiwo Awoniyi, players of the Olympic Eagles looked out of shape and quite heavy. While it may be difficult to determine how fit or otherwise the players may have been, but they sure looked way out of shape as they strutted their stuff against their Sudanese counterparts.
Poor team cohesion
The Olympic Eagles looked far from a well-drilled team and would have struggled against much better opposition.
For a team that hadn’t played together before last week’s 1-0 loss in Omdurman, it was expected that the Olympic Eagles would be far from a cohesive bunch and it showed for the entirety of the win over Sudan. While the players showed enough zest and eagerness to overturn the deficit and win the round, one major takeaway is that they would have really struggled against a much better side.
Terrible, terrible pitch
The pitch at the Stephen Keshi Stadium always look far from an ideal playing surface and it wasn’t any better today against Sudan.
For some reason, the Nigeria Football Federation remains hell-bent on having the men’s national teams play at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba. And over the games that have been played at the venue, the pitch never looks better but rather worse every time. The story wasn’t different today as the pitch looked far from where a professional football game should be played.
Talented Nwakali, but…
Kelechi Nwakali (R) has always impressed in national colours but needs to sort out his club future.
Kelechi Nwakali’s talent has never been in doubt, if anything, he’s never disappointed whenever he’s played for the national teams – either at U17, U20, U23 or senior level. He has always looked the part and today in Asaba, there were glimpses of the player he could become. Although far from his best, there was enough to once again remind any doubter of his talent. However, he must sort his club future out. Since his move to Arsenal, he’s spent his time out on loan and with the exception of an impressive half season at MVV Maastricht, he has hardly had an impact wherever else he has played. If he is to fulfil his promise, he must sort his club future out.
Off form Azubuike?
Azubuike Okechukwu has often impressed for Nigeria but looked a bit off the pace in the win over Sudan.
Just like Nwakali, one player who has also hardly disappointed when playing for Nigeria is skipper Okey Azubuike. However, he was hardly his impressive self for the Olympic Eagles as they strolled past the Sudanese today and while that may not have been very visible given the team won comprehensively, it is worthy to note how much less imperious he was in that win.