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U-20 AFCON: Back-to-back MOTM Agbalaka Earns Praises; Looks Beyond World Cup Qualification

February, 26 2023.

Despite not being among the scorers, Solomon Abalaka was on Saturday named man-of-the-match, as the Flying Eagles of Nigeria defeated the Under-20 Mambas of Mozambique 2-0, to qualify for the knockout phase of the ongoing Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations, holding in Egypt.

Agbalaka also won the same award, for the first time in Nigeria's 1-0 defeat of the Junior Pharoahs of Egypt, on Day 2 of Group A preliminary games.

Having scooped the award for the second consecutive time, the Flying Eagles left back has received encomiums from far and near, especially those impressed by his overlapping and energetic runs, that provided the tonic needed for the first goal of the match, against Mozambique, in Ismalia.

The owner of Lagos-based Broad City Football Club and Academy, Bamidele Olusanya said he is no doubt that one of his players, could achieve this much; and urged Nigerians to expect more from Agbalaka and by extension, the National Under-20 team, put together by Coach Ladan Bosso.

“Am yet to believe that my boy and other players were picked on merit to represent the Nation! On this ground, Nigerians should expect great and spirit uplifting performance from these boys and the team as a whole. This team is the bedrock of our senior National teams, in the future.”

Solomon Agbalaka, himself is a player basking in the euphoria of the best weeks of his fledging career, and has left no one in doubt that there is more to come from him.

"Repeatedly, the head Coach has been telling us that our main goal is to pick a ticket to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Now we are just 90 minutes and a win away from achieving that objective".

Agbalaka added, "but as a individual, I'm already looking far and beyond just qualifying for the World Cup, and am optimistic me and my team mates, with the guidance of our coaches can go all the way and win for Nigeria, a record extending eight title, in addition to qualifying for the tournament in Indonesia".

Nigeria qualified to the next round behind Senegal, who won all of their Group A matches; while tournament hosts Egypt and Mozambique exited the competition, with just one point each, from their opening goalless draw on Day-1.

The remaining six quarterfinalists are therefore expected to emerge from Groups B and C, after their Day-3 fixture would have been decided, on Sunday and Monday.

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