Monday, October 21, 2019

Nigeria shocked by Togo in CHAN qualifiers as holders Morocco go through

Nigeria were shock 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying casualties on Saturday despite a 2-0 home victory over Togo in the second leg of their regional tie.

Sikiru Alimi scored twice in Lagos for the Super Eagles B team, but it was not enough as Togo qualified for the finals 4-3 on aggregate.

It will be the first appearance by the Togolese in this national team competition, which is restricted to footballers who play in their country of birth.

Nigeria, runners-up to hosts Morocco in the 2018 final, had been seeking a fourth consecutive appearance at the biennial 16-nation championship.

Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia also qualified this weekend, leaving a further eight places to be filled on Sunday.

Cameroon qualify automatically as 2020 hosts, but the tournament dates and venues have not been announced.

Needing to score at least three goals after a shock 4-1 first leg loss in Lome last month, Nigeria made a promising start with Alimi netting on eight minutes.

He could have had a hat-trick by half-time, but failed to score when one-on-one with goalkeeper Mubarak Aigba while another shot was cleared off the line.

Alimi did score again 19 minutes from time, but Nigeria failed to find a third unanswered goal that would have given them victory on away goals.

Morocco served notice that they will be strong contenders to become the first nation to successfully defend the title when they beat Algeria 3-0.

After a goal-less first leg, the holders broke the deadlock on 27 minutes when Badr Benoun converted a penalty and Hamid Ahadad and Mohamed Nahiri also netted before half-time.

Benoun captained the 2018 Nations Championship-winning team that included Nahiri, who scores remarkably regularly for a full-back at club and national team levels.

None of the Algeria 2019 Africa Cup of Nations-winning squad were available as all 23 play abroad.

The qualification of Tanzania for the first time since the inaugural tournament hosted by the Ivory Coast in 2009 was a surprise given they fell 1-0 at home to Sudan in the first leg.

Sudan doubled the advantage through Amir Kamal in Omdurman before second half goals from Erasto Nyoni and Ditram Nchimbi earned Tanzania a 2-1 win and overall success on away goals.

Uganda defeated Burundi 3-0 in Kampala to go through 6-0 on aggregate and Rwanda narrowly got past Ethiopia 2-1 overall to qualify after a 1-1 draw in Kigali.

In the southern zone, eSwatini held Zambia to a 2-2 drawn in Lusaka but it was not enough as Zambia won 3-2 on aggregate.

In Windhoek Namibia were 2-0 winners over Madagascar to qualify 2-1 overall.


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