Nigeria in Group A of 2023 AFCON U-20

December 24, 2022

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Flying Eagles of Nigeria will be gunning for their eighth triumph as African champions as they face the host nation, Egypt, in the group stage of the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations finals from February 19 – March 11.

Nigeria and Egypt will battle for glory in Group A with the duo of Senegal and Mozambique, according to the draws held in Cairo on Friday evening.

The draws also placed Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo in Group B, while The Gambia, Tunisia, Benin Republic and Zambia will slot it out in Group C.

It is the first time that the AFCON U-20 will witness 12 teams, with the four top teams in Egypt qualifying to represent Africa at the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals already slated for May 20 – June 11 in Indonesia.

From the result of the exercise yesterday, the Flying Eagles, which qualified as champions of the WAFU B zone, will play their first match of the tournament against Senegal, who emerged from the WAFU A zone.

Egypt qualified automatically as host, while Tunisia emerged from North Africa and Mozambique and Zambia emerged from the COSAFA zone.

The Gambia joined Senegal from WAFU A just as the Benin Republic, who lost to Nigeria in the WAFU B final in Niamey in May, joined Nigeria from the WAFU B zone.

Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic emerged from Central Africa, while Uganda and South Sudan represent East Africa.

Meanwhile, defending Champions, Ghana, failed to qualify and won’t be able to fight for a fifth trophy.

Nigeria is the most successful U-20 country on the continent, as it has won the trophy seven times: 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2005, 2011, and 2015. The country came second on two occasions and had three bronze medals in its cabinet.

This has, however, not translated to World Cup glory. The last time the Flying Eagles came close was a silver medal in 2005. The young Eagles lost 2-1 to Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the final of the tournament hosted by the Netherlands. The tournament showcased Mikel Obi and Taiye Taiwo to the world as they emerged as the best players alongside Messi.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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