Nigeria’s Dream Team IV, Wednesday, defeated hosts, Senegal1-0 to reach the final of the U-23 African Nations Cup, Wednesday.
Oghenekaro Etebo scored in the second half to see Samson Siasia’s boys not only earn a place in the final of the competition but also qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The three best finishers in the competition automatically earn a place in the Rio Olympics Men’s Football event with the fourth place grouped with the Asian qualifiers for the final ticket.
Siasia’s men had barely scraped through the group stage and had the odds against them since the Senegalese breezed through their group with a 100 per cent record.
Nigeria lacked captain Azubuike Okechukwu who was suspended with injuries to Stanley Dimgba and Taiwo Awoniyi. Siasia turned to the trio of Godspower Aniefiok, Tiongoli Tonbara and Kufre Ebong to step in as their replacement.
Senegal head coach Serigne Saliou Dia named a side with four overseas-based players in Eupen’s Samba Ndiaye, AS Geel defender El-Hadji Pape Diaw, AS Nancy-Lorraine defender Modou Diagne and Norwegian-based striker Cheikhou Dieng.
Senegal coach in a bid to salvage the game switched to a four-man attack sending on Sidy Sarr and Mouhammadou Diallo but Nigeria held on for a slim win to reach the final.