Nigeria’s hopes of competing in the Football event at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris were dashed on Wednesday at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, when the country’s U-23 national team was held to a goalless draw by Guinea in the final round of qualifiers for the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
The Olympic Eagles were champions in 2015 and have never missed a continental tournament, despite missing out on a spot in the 2020 Olympics.
Salisu Yusuf, who coached the home-based Super Eagles team that failed to qualify for the Africa Nations Championship, is the coach of the 1996 Olympic champions.
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The first half ended scoreless as the U23 Eagles were unable to convert the chances that came their way, with Guinea’s defense rejecting the Eagles.
The Guineans were disciplined in control but failed to create clear-cut scoring chances, with goalkeeper Nathaniel Idowu saving a late shot. The Eagles’ captain, Success Makanjuola, and Ifeanyi Ogba came the closest to scoring for Nigeria, but both were denied by an equally talented Guinea goalkeeper.
The second leg of the match takes place on March 28, with the winner of the two legs qualifying for the CAF U-23 AFCON.
Three African teams will compete in the Olympic football competition in 2024.