The Nigerian boys will continue their quest for qualification when they take on the Sierra Leoneans at the African Junior Finals qualifiers in Cotonou on Friday.
The Nigerian boys’ team, led by Seun Ogunshakin, Precious Ikeuba, and Mohammed Idris, is fresh off a thoroughly impressively performance against Togo on Thursday. The trio pulled together strings of brilliant displays to secure a 3-0 victory and move into second place in Group B. The team, however, is joint second on the log with Sierra Leone- a team Nigeria must now beat to seal the second spot and also a semi-final berth.
The Sierra Leoneans come into the match on the back of a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of host nation, Benin Republic. Like the Nigerian boys team, Sierra Leone has won one tie out of two. But while the Nigerians were brilliant on the second day and did well to dispell memories of a not-so-good opening day, where they lost 1-2 to Benin, the Sierra Leoneans utterly crumbled.
Seun Ogunshakin and co., who are surely now riding a wave of confidence, will seek to secure the win against their fellow West Africans and keep their qualification hopes very much alive.
Still in Group B, Benin Republic, top of the log with two wins out of two, will take on the Togolese, who are yet to register a single win so far. A win for the Beninese, which is likely, will see them seal top spot in the Group.
Meanwhile, the girls’ team, having lost to Benin on Day 2—their second tie loss—will no longer be able to qualify for the AJC Finals scheduled for September. The girls will not compete today, Friday, as Benin Republic and Ghana go head to head to determine who tops Group A in the girls’ category.
The Nigerian girls, despite being third on the log, have put up spirited efforts so far. They have won more games (57) than the Ghanaians (33) and host nation, Benin Republic (31), but just haven’t been able to find the crucial edge in Cotonou.
The tournament, which began on the 6th, will have its final curtain fall on Sunday, the 10th.