Enyimba of Aba forward, Maxwell Effiom shot into the starting eleven of Nigeria’s youth national team, Flying Eagles for Tuesday’s match against South Africa at the African U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic.
Effiom got the nod from coach of the side, Paul Aigbogun, based on the youngster’s form and goal in the first group match and 2-0 win against Burundi, which the lad played as a substitute, such that he looked good to start the second game.
Effiom, who scored Nigeria’s second goal against Burundi in Saturday’s opener, replaced Ibrahim Aliyu (aka Bravo), while Aigbogun kept faith with ten others that started the first group match.
However, Effiom’s efforts could not pay off in the long run, mas Armajita fought hard to settle for a goalless draw against the seven-time champs, to put on hold their target of reaching the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland after two matches at the U-20 AFCON.
The Flying Eagles’ qualification target became complex same day, as the host nation, Niger Republic played a 3-3 draw with Burundi and all four teams in Group A have chances of reaching the semi-finals.
The Flying Eagles remain top of the standings on four points, Niger are second on two points ahead of South Africa, who also have two points but scored fewer goals, while Burundi are bottom with a point.
For Friday’s final group games, the Flying Eagles face a Herculean task against hosts Niger in Niamey, while South Africa battle Burundi in Maradi at the same time to determine the top two teams of this group.
Nigeria will need to avoid defeat against the desperate host country to go through to the semifinals of the competition, while Niger may need a win to book their passage to the last-four.
Both teams played out a 0-0 draw at last year’s WAFU Cup in Togo with Niger creating the better chances.