Nigeria National U20 team, Flying Eagles, secured 2019 AFCON U20 ticket on Saturday at the Soccer Temple, Agege after an emphatic 5-0 win over Mauritania.
The seven-time AFCON U20 champions proceed to the championship which is slated for Niger Republic next year 6-1 on aggregate after the first leg fixture ended 1-1 last weekend.
The game kicked off as scheduled despite the heavy rain in Lagos, Wasiu Alalade opened scoring for the host in the 12th minute. Nazifi Yahaya doubled the lead late in the first half, he completed his brace two minutes into second half to increased Nigeria lead.
Aniekeme Okon scored the fourth goal while Afeez Aremu completed the emphatic win with the fifth goal in the additional minute from the spot.
“We are happy, the boys work very hard since we resume for the qualifiers. I am happy we finish up with a five star performance,” an elated Flying Eagles head coach Paul Aigbogun said to Naijafootballplus.com.
“We have great plans going forward to the tournament in Niger next year, we’ll speak with the Federation and table our plans.
“This group of players has done everything we wanted from them but I’m sure there are more Nigerian players out there who are eligible and could add quality to the team. We’ll continue to work with this group and see how we can improve the team.”
Aigbogun handed a late up to IK Start of Norway midfielder, Afeez Aremu, for the encounter. Aremu featured in the entire duration of the game.
Aigbogun added; “We had suspension from our last game, he came in at the right time and he was a good replacement. His commitment to the team is massive and his performance was superb, it was a group effort and we are excited for the AFCON ticket.”
IK Start midfielder, Afeez Aremu told Naijafootballplus.com he is fulfilled playing for his country and scoring his first international goal.
“I’m extremely excited, for the victory and my first international goal. It was a massive win for the team and for me to be part of this success makes me feel honoured.
“The coach (Paul Aigbogun) and his assistants believe in my quality and there was no reason for them to panic when they listed me in the line-up. My teammates in Europe also wished me good luck before the game, it’s nice to see us emerged victorious and also secured the AFCON ticket,” said Aremu.
Flying Eagles captain and Enyimba International defender, Ikouwem Udoh revealed his excitement leading the team to 2019 AFCON U20.
“The fans are excited and the atmosphere is beautiful, we achieve a big win and qualify for the tournament next year. We prepared for the game and it was a tough journey.
“After the first leg, we had opportunity to scope more information about them (Mauritania) and we work on correcting our few lapses. We prepared better and focus was high. We’ll savour the moment and celebrate, two years ago Nigeria didn’t qualify but we have been able to open a new chapter at this level,” Udoh told Naijafootballplus.com.