March, 6 2023.
An uninspired Flying Eagles of Nigeria side was on Monday evening in Cairo, were sent crashing of the 17th CAF TotalEnergies
Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations, by the twice Bronze medalists, the Junior Scorpions Gambia, who reached their first final by winning the second semi-final duel 1-0, thanks to an early goal by Adamah Bodjan.
Going into Monday's games, all four semi-finalists, including Senegal and Tunisia had already secured tickets to play in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia, in May.
So, it was a question of who wanted more, by reaching the final, and making a stake for the title, which Nigeria had won a record seven times.
But criticism has trailed what many pundits who monitored the match called a lackluster, uncoordinated, and shocking display by the Flying Eagles who conceded as early as the 8th minute, and resorted to unproductive long balls, as Ladan Bosso's side apparently lacked creativity both in the midfield and on the wings.
Not even a late penalty awarded to Nigeria was beneficial, as Musa Abdullahi failed to convert from 12 yards out, with less than 10 minutes to the end of the game.
Having missed the chance of playing for a record extending eight title, Nigerian will stay back to play the Bronze medal match, against the Junior Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, who got thrashed 3-0 by a flawless Senegal's Cub Lions of Teranga, in the first Semifinal.
Senegal reached the final of the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations after Lamine Camara, who recently signed for FC Metz of France scored a double to help them defeat Tunisia 3-0 in Ismailia on Monday.
The Cub Lions of Teranga won the semi-final match emphatically after beating the Young Carthage Eagles at the Suez Canal Authority Stadium to secure their place in the final.
The three-time runners-up coached by Malick Dafs held onto their two goal lead going into the break as they moved closer to their fourth appearance in the TotalEnergies U-20 AFCON final.
A sumptuous strike by Pape Diop was the icing on the cake for Senegal to advance to the final, by winning 3-0 on the day, thus notching five wins in as many matches they have so far played, without conceeding a goal.