By Patrick Omorodion
After failing to qualify for the 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations held in Zambia, Nigeria’s U-20 national team, the Flying Eagles have been given a bye in the 2019 qualifiers scheduled to kick-off late March. Niger Republic are slated to host the biennial event.
According to the draws released by CAF yesterday, the Flying Eagles will await the winner of the two-legged ties between Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone for their second round ties. Guinea Bissau host Sierra Leone first on the weekend of March 30-31 and go to Freetown for the second leg on the weekend of 20-22 April.
The Flying Eagles will play either of the teams first at away on the weekend of 11-13 of May when the second round begins and host the visitors in any chosen Nigerian city on the weekend of 18-20 May.
If the Flying Eagles scale through the second round, they will battle the winner of the Mauritania/Morocco versus Guinea in the third round.
Those exempted from the first round alongside Nigeria, according to CAF, are Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa and Zambia.
It would be recalled that Nigeria were stopped by Sudan in the last tournament, beating Sudan 2-1 in Khartoum but shockingly lost 3-4 to the same team at home in Lagos in July, 2016.