CHAN qualifiers: Eagles walk a tightrope

Festus Abu

Nigeria now have a tightrope to tread in the 2018 Championships of Africa Nations qualifiers after losing1-0 against West African neighbours Benin in the  first  leg  at Stade de l’Amitié in Cotonou   on  Sunday.

Benin are seeking a first time appearance in the tournament,  which  began in 2009  in Ivory Coast.

Akwa United midfielder Hafiz Aremu’s 88th  minute blunder   helped   the     Squirrels   gain a  slim advantage  ahead  of  the   reverse  fixture  at the  Sani  Abacha  Stadium  in  Kano   on   Saturday.

Aremu hacked  down  Benin  attacker  Mama Seibou after a mix-up caused by a lack of communication with IfeanyiUbah defender  Stephen Eze.  Seibou went  on  to beat   the  Super  Eagles goalkeeper   Ikechukwu Ezenwa from the  spot.

Nigeria  assistant  coach  Salisu Yusuf,  who is  in  charge of the team,  played   Lobi Stars  Eduwo as the lone striker, allowing  the hosts to  dominate possession.

 The  Eagles  soaked up  the pressure for  45 minutes, with Yusuf  introducing  Nigeria Professional Football League top scorer Stephen Odey and  Akwa United’s  Al-Hassan Ibrahim in the  second half   in an attempt  to hit  the   opponents  on  the  counter-attack.

Nigeria’s  best outing  in the tournament for  players plying  their trade  in their   countries, was  a third-place finish  at South  Africa  2014.

In other CHAN  qualifiers, Egypt battled to a 1-1 draw with  Morocco   in Alexandria  while Niger shocked  Ivory Coast  2-1 in Niamey.

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Source: Punchng
CHAN qualifiers: Eagles walk a tightrope

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