Nigeria's Flying Eagles have brightened their chances of defending the African Youth Championship (AYC) trophy they won in 2011 after they drew 1-1 against the Amajita of South Africa in the first leg of the final round qualifying match in Nelspruit on Friday.
The Amajita, who had earlier beaten the country's U-20 national team in a friendly encounter in July, got the curtain raiser in the first half before the Nigerians fought back gamely to even scores in the second half through hard working Abduljelil Ajagun in the second half.
The Flying Eagles will host the return leg at the Ilorin Township Stadium in Kwara State on October 7th and will be the pundits' favourites to advance to the AYC slated for next year.
Nigeria saw the better of the Ngorongoro Heroes of Tanzania in the last round 4-1 on aggregate while South Africa defeated Congo only on away goals rule after both ended the tie 2-2 apiece.
Nigeria edged the Cubs of Cameroon 3-2 in the final of the last AYC decided in South Africa in 2011 courtesy of Terry Envoh's extra time strike after both sides ended the regulation time 2-2.
The Flying Eagles went ahead to the Fifa U-20 World Cup in Colombia but bowed out in the quarter final despite putting up a valiant battle against France. It ended 1-3 in favour of the European nation.