Nigeria earned the right to defend their Africa U-23 Cup of Nations title in Egypt in November after the Olympic Eagles spanked Sudan 5-0 in the second leg of the final qualifying round at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on Tuesday evening.
Imama Amapakabo’s side qualified 5-1 on aggregate having lost the first leg 1-0 in Omdurman four days previously.
A brace by Ndifreke Effiong and one goal each by Taiwo Awoniyi, Sunday Faleye and Sunusi Ibrahim ensured the big win for Nigeria, who became the fourth team after hosts Egypt, Zambia and South Africa to reach the 2019 U-23 AFCON scheduled for 8 November to 22 November in Egypt.
Awoniyi got the Olympic Eagles going in the 10th minute, headed home after goalkeeper Mohamed Adam could only punch a fierce shot by skipper Azubuike Okechukwu.
Nigeria got the second goal in the 26th minute when Effiong met defender John Lazarus’ pull-out with a header that left goalkeeper Adam helpless.
Two minutes before the break, Effiong got his second and Nigeria’s third, finishing into the far corner after a sweet team move.
In the 66th minute, Effiong turned provider for substitute Sunday Faleye who headed into an empty net after confusion in the Sudanese box, three minutes after he replaced Olabiran. Three minutes later, Faleye crossed for Sunusi Ibrahim to score the fifth goal.
The U-23 AFCON will serve as the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the best two sides earning tickets.