The Nigeria football teams, the Falconets, and the Flying Eagles will on Monday and Tuesday respectively battle for tickets into the finals of the football event at the ongoing 2019 African Games in Morocco.
While the Falconets have their work cut out against their counterparts from Algeria on Monday, the Flying Eagles, Nigeria’s male U-20 team, will be battling it out against Mali on Tuesday for a place in the final.
The Falconets will have to approach the game against Algeria cautiously.
The North Africans surprisingly pipped Equatorial Guinea 1 -0 and finished second behind hosts, Morocco, who top Group A with a maximum of 9 points.
Falconets finished as the top team in Group B with 7 points after playing out a draw against Cameroon, defeated South Africa 3-0 and walked over Zambia to make it to this stage.
Their semi-final tie against Algeria on Monday at 1 p.m. local time will take place at the Boubker Aamar Stadium, with the winner facing either Morocco or Cameroon in the final on August 29.
Nigeria has the best record in Women’s football event at African Games having won the gold medal twice when the country hosted in 2003 in Abuja and four years later in Algiers, Algeria.
For the men, the Flying Eagles will, on Tuesday, be battling against the Malian side who eliminated Ghana’s U-20 team 4-2.
Tuesday’s semi-final tie will avail the Nigeria U20s a chance to possibly avenge the defeat they suffered against the Malians earlier this year in Niger Republic, also at the same semi-final stage at the African Youth Championship.
In Niger, the match had ended 1-1 after 120 minutes before the Malians edged the tie, winning in the ensuing penalty shootouts
The Nigeria-Mali match comes up on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the sports centre of the ASFAR.
Aside from 1973 when the African Games (then All-African Games) was hosted in Lagos, Nigeria has never won the men’s football gold at the continental games.
On two other occasions in 1978 and 2003, Nigeria settled for the silver medal while in 1991, 1995, and 2015, the country could only make do with the bronze medal.
Many are keen to see if the Flying Eagles will be Nigeria’s first men’s football team to win gold at African Games on foreign soil.