Ahmed Musa doles out N4m to Olympic Eagles for four goals scored
Former junior international, Victor Osimhen scored a hat-trick in the 4-0 defeat of Libya yesterday in Asaba as the Nigerian Olympic Eagles progressed to the third stage of the qualification series of the African Under-23 Cup of Nations.
David Okereke contributed the fourth goal as Nigeria canceled the 2-0 deficit from the first leg of the second round played in Tunisia last week.
The Wolfsburg forward in the German Bundesliga who is on loan at Belgium’s Sporting Charleroi was the hero of the evening as the Libyans who came to defend their two-goal edge from the first leg played frustrating defensive game until the goals started to pour in from the boots of the former Under-17 World Cup winner at Chile 2015.
Super Eagles stand in Captain, Ahmed Musa who had promised the Olympic Eagles N1million for every goal scored against the Libyans redeemed the pledge even before the team departed the Stephen Keshi Stadium here in Asaba for their hotel base.
The Al Nassr winger whose Saudi Arabia club ferried back to the Middle East for a crucial league game with a private jet on Sunday afternoon sent the money through his associate to the team immediately after Kenyan Centre Referee, Anthony Ogwayo signaled the end of proceedings.
Osimhen opened the scores in the 33rd minute, following up on another blocked effort from another Kelechi Nwakali free -kick to hook the ball into the roof of the Libyan net with goalkeeper Islam Alharam stranded.
Now, the Olympic Eagles started to fire from all cylinders. Samuel Chukwueze, from a free-kick, rocked the crossbar in the 35th minute, and two minutes later, Orji Okonkwo’s shot was parried. Osimhen picked up the ball from the left side, dashed past a defender and unleashed a scorcher that rocked the upright on the dot of 45 minutes.
Four minutes after the re-start, Nwakali’s shot went over the bar, and in the 65th minute, Alharam, just too busy, saved from Victor Osimhen.
A minute later, Osimhen would not be denied, as he stole the ball when Alharam thought he had saved from a pull –out, and slammed into the net to equal the scoreline on aggregate.
The Nigerian boys became unstoppable. Coach Imama Amapakabo brought in Dennis Bonaventure for Orji Okonkwo and David Okereke replaced the ineffective Awoniyi. From a glorious pass in the middle, Osimhen latched onto the ball, outran a defender and left Alharam with no chance as he scored his third of the afternoon.
On the dot of 90 minutes, Chukwueze, with Alharam to beat, failed to make impact with the ball. But there would still be a fourth, and again Osimhen was involved, as he back-heeled the ball from a goalmouth tussle, gifting substitute David Okereke with a glorious opportunity to slot past Alharam.
Nigeria will square up against the winner of the Kenya/Sudan fixture in the final round of qualifiers in June, with the winner to be eligible for a place at the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Egypt in November. The three-top placed teams at that championship will represent Africa at the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.