Nigeria have failed in their bid to qualify for the 2021 U20 Africa Cup of Nations following Ghana’s failure to defeat Cote d’Ivoire in Saturday’s Wafu U20 Zone B fixture.
The Flying Eagles began their campaign on an uninspiring note following their 1-1 draw against the Young Elephants at the Charles De Gaulle Stadium.
Despite needing a win against the Black Satellites in their last preliminary game – the seven-time African kings bowed 1-0 to the 2009 world youth champions thanks to Precious Boah’s stunning free-kick that was unstoppable for goalkeeper Kolawole Oladipo.
With that result, their only hope of progressing was seeing coach Abdul Karim Zito’s side defeat the Ivorians by at least a two-goal margin.
Nevertheless, that was not the case as Ghana lost 1-0 to Cote d’Ivoire owing to a second-half strike.
Fofana Datro, who was a torn in the flesh of the Ghanaian backline, won a free-kick very close to the 18-yeard box on the hour mark, and Issouf Dosso curved the ensuing kick past goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad.
That result saw Nigeria bow out of the competition having finished third in Group B with just one point from two games, while the Black Satellites finished as runners-up with three points from the same number of games.
With four points, the Ivorians won the group and will now face Burkina Faso in the last four. Elsewhere, Zito’s team will try Niger Republic for size for a place in the final.
The 2021 U20 Afcon serves as qualifiers for next year’s Fifa U20 World Cup to be staged in Indonesia.
Nigeria finished fourth at the 2019 Afcon U20 staged in Niger Republic. At the global fiesta held in Poland, the team led by Paul Aigbogun crashed out after the Round of 16 following their 2-1 defeat to Senegal.
The Flying Eagles are the most successful country in Africa at this level of competition having won the championship a record seven times.
Their last triumph was achieved at the 2015 edition when they defeated hosts Senegal 1-0 in the final.