On Tuesday, February 5th, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria took on the Amajita of South Africa at the Général Seyni Kountché Stadium. The Amajita played out a draw with the hosts Niger Republic in their first game of the tournament. The Flying Eagles beat Burundi and were at the top of Group A after the first round.
Nigeria coach Paul Aigbogun made just one change in the starting line-up for this game. Maxwell Effiom came in for Aliyu Ibrahim in attack. This was the full starting eleven:
In goal: Olawale Oremade
Defenders: Ozornwafor James, Ikouwem Utin and Zaruma Mike, Ogbu Igor
Middle:Jamil Mohammed, Abubakar Ibrahimand Aremu Afeez
Up-front: Maxwell Effiom, Alhassan Adamuand Nazifi Yahaya
The Eagles started the match very strong and were putting pressure on South Africa early on. But it was the Amajita who had the first real chance of the game. Njabulo Blom had a go from outside the box but Olawale managed to get his hands on the ball for a save.
Even though they had more of the ball, the Nigerian youngsters couldn’t beat the South African defence. Nazifi Yahaya had a chance in the 33rd minute after a good cross but the keeper was there to save it.
Close to halftime, Abubakar Ibrahim had an opportunity to score, but again the keeper touched the ball over the net for a corner. The score was 0:0 at the break.
Both teams began the second half with more intent but again it was Nigeria who started stronger. South Africans couldn’t get a hold of the ball for any longer periods. Flying Eagles could have been in with a chance in the 58th minute after a cross by Ibrahim but Yahaya couldn’t reach the ball in time.
In the last third of the game, Eagles put even more pressure on the Amajita. At one point in the second half, they had 65% of the ball. And in the 78th minute, Yahaya shot well from distance but couldn’t score. South Africans held on until the final whistle to earn their second draw in as many games.
In the other group game, Burundi and Niger played out an exciting draw which finished 3:3. With all teams getting a point in this round, the situation remains the same. Nigeria are still top with four points, followed by Niger and South Africa with two points each.
There is all to play in the last group round. Nigeria will play the hosts Niger and will need a draw to go through to the semi-finals. A draw will also automatically qualify them for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup later this year. Burundi, who are last in the group with a single point can still qualify if they beat South Africa, providing Nigeria draws or wins.