Nigeria’s youth national team, Flying Eagles coach, Paul Osahon Aigbogun has spoken in modest and sympathetic words to Niger Republic’s coach, following his side’s 1-0 win against the African U-20 Cup of Nations hosts on Friday.
Rather than flaunt himself as the deserving winner, footballlive.ng reports that Aigbogun opted to be humble in victory, as he acknowledged how well the opponents fought in the encounter.
It took a 72nd minute effort from Ibrahim Alhassan to fetch Nigeria the win, which not only took them into the semi-finals but also confirmed a spot at the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland, and Aigbogun admits it was a tight game for his squad.
Aigbogun was kept on the edge of his seat all through the encounter, as the Nigeriens relied on fast counter attacks and rained several assaults on Nigeria’s right-back, with the Junior Mena even getting some scary chances in the last 20 minutes of play.
It was a relief for the Nigerian bench when Alhassan eventually struck with a direct free kick, but the Flying Eagles almost conceded an equaliser with seven minutes left to ply.
However, Issah Salou’s header narrowly missed target, even after going past the Nigerian goalkeeper, Olawale Oremade, leaving the Flying Eagles to qualify for the semi-finals along with South Africa, who beat Burundi 1-0 in the simultaneous Group A fixture.
Aigbogun has now set his sight on Wednesday’s semi-final at Stade Général Seyni Kountché in Niamey on February 13, but expressed sympathy that the hosts’ coach could not lead his side through as well.
”It was a very difficult match between two good teams and I would like to say to the Nigerien coach that this is the result,” the Flying Eagles’ gaffer submitted.