IK Start of Norway midfielder, Afeez Aremu has received low marks, after struggling in two matches of the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic, as he has failed to re-enact the dazzles that were known of him during his days with Akwa United of Uyo.
More knocks went out against Aremu on Tuesday, as he failed to shine in a goalless draw against South Africa, which put on hold Nigeria’s hopes of qualification for the semi-finals and an early ticket to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Amidst worries that he might be feeling out of place in Paul Aigbogun’s team, Aremu has been fingered among the culprits in Nigeria’s failure to shine against Amajita.
Similarly, skipper of the side, Ikouwem Udoh Utin and super-sub, Effiom Maxwell also got barely average marks from their performances during Tuesday’s barren draw in NIamey.
Average marks also went out for the trio of Ibrahim Abubakar, Ibrahim Alhassan and Nazifi Yahaya, who all put up battling performances but were found wanting with their final balls in crucial positions as well as with their physical conditioning.
Subsequently, the Flying Eagles’ qualification target became complex, as the host nation, Niger Republic played a 3-3 draw with Burundi and all four teams in Group A still 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.