Nigeria’s Under-20 men’s national team; the Flying Eagles made a flying start to their 2019 Under 20 Africa Cup of Nations (U20AFCON) campaign with a routine 2-0 win over Burundi in Niamey.
Two second half goals by striker Nazifi Yahaya and substitute Michael Effiom gave Paul Aigbogun’s side a well deserved victory which took them to the top of Group A after the first round of games at the Stade General Seyni Kountché.
Nigeria dominated the game for larger spells but could not find an opening goal in the first half as Yahaya was twice denied by the Burundian goalkeeper Onesime Rukundo, first from an over head kick and second from a stylish finish.
Sweden based forward Yahaya however gave Nigeria the lead in the 55th minute after some brilliant piece of play by Abubakar Ibrahim. The winger who was impressive all through with his pace and trickery left his markers for the dead and crossed to the far post from where Yahaya headed home.
The goal came shortly after the Nigerian bench which also has Abdu Maikaba as Aigbogun’s assistant introduced Enyimba starlet Michael Maxwell Effiom. It was the substitute who scored the insurance goal also after a moment of brilliance. After the impressive Kano Pillars midfielder Ibrahim Alhassan picked out Effiom in the box, the attacker left the Goliathly framed Selemani for dead before curling home from an acute angle.
Niger and South Africa battled to a 1-1 draw in the tournament’s opening game earlier on Saturday. Boubacar Goumey gave Niger the lead in the 63rd minute but the Amajitas replied through Siphesihle Mkhize as both teams settled for a 1-1 draw.
Nigeria will next face South Africa in their second group game at the same venue on Tuesday in the day’s first match while Burundi face host Niger in the second game of the day.