Nigeria will miss out on a place in the 2017 AFCON in Gabon after the Super Eagles lost 1-0 away to Egypt in the second leg qualifying match on Tuesday.
A 66th minute goal by Mohamed Sobhy settled the encounter and sealed Nigeria’s fate; condemning the visitors to a long, agonizing trip back home.
Nigeria had missed out on the last edition hosted by Equatorial Guinea – as defending champions – but losing out of a qualification spot for Africa’s most prestigious cup competition on consecutive occasions has only ever happened back in 1972 and 74.
Chad’s withdrawal from the qualifying race on Sunday had made sure no best loser would emerge from Group G; the last resort for Nigeria should events turn out as they did in Burg El Arab.
Samson Siasia’s task after the shock resignation of former Boss, Sunday Oliseh seemed simple; get past Egypt and steady the ship. But that was a job to steep given the raggedly squad the erstwhile rookie coach left behind.
The tie against Tanzania in September, meanwhile turns out a dead rubber game and its back to locker room for the Technical Committee of the NFF to decide the direction of the team until the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers which could pit Nigeria against teams the likes of Egypt.
Siasia’s Eagles weren’t too bad on the occasion in the same fashion as they impressed in the first leg. Odion Ighalo started upfront but was tucked in the pockets of the Egyptians CBs.
A few players showed sparks for the three-time champions including stand-in goalie Daniel Akpeyi, Captain Mikel Obi and sub; U-23 captain , Azubuike Okechukwu.
Victor Moses was by far the only player that threatened with a rifled shot that came off the upright and just out again to the dismay of the Nigerian bench.