Nigeria’s Under 23 Eagles, Dream Team VI faces tough battle in clinching the 2016 Olympics in Rio Brazil after being placed in a tough qualifying group Games by CAF. The Samson Siasia-led Eagles were placed in Group B alongside tough opponents like Egypt, Algeria and Mali while South Africa, Senegal, Zambia and Tunisia will battle for the other slots in Group A.
The only consolation is that group winners and runners-up advance to the semifinals, while victors secure places at the Rio Olympic Games .The losing semifinalists play off to fill the third and last place reserved for Africa at a tournament won by Nigeria in 1996 and Cameroon four years later.
Nigeria edged out Congo Brazzaville to reach Senegal while Egypt outclassed Uganda with rising star ‘Kahraba’ scoring four goals. Algeria overcame Sierra Leone and Mali were too strong for Mauritania and 2012 London Olympics qualifiers Gabon.
Senegal are automatic participants as hosts and South Africa won at home against Zimbabwe with Keegan Dolly scoring twice after drawing away. Tunisia beat Sudan comfortably and Morocco narrowly while Zambia eliminated Botswana and edged Ivory Coast in a penalty shootout.
Senegal hosts the Olympics qualifying tournament between November 28 and December 12 in Dakar and Mbour, which lies 80 kilometres south of the capital.
By Olisemeka Obeche