Nigeria?s Super Eagles are through to the 2014 African Nations Championships (CHAN) to be hosted by South Africa.
The Super Eagles advanced on a 4-3 aggregate score despite losing the second leg, final round qualifying game 0-2 to the Cote d?Ivoire at the Robert Chambroux stadium in Abidjan on Saturday.
A 4-1 first leg win in Kaduna three weeks previously had put Stephen Keshi?s troops on the box seat but the Ivoirians gave their West African neighbours a huge scare with an energetic start that fetched two goals inside the first 25 minutes, reports
Kevin Zougoula gave the Super Eagles their first fright when he capitalized on a wayward Azubuike Egwuekwe back-pass to smack home an opportunist effort past Chigozie Agbim in the 7th minute.
The stunned Eagles were soon two goals down as Zougoula completed his brace with a well-taken penalty in the 24th minute.
One more goal for the Ivoirians would have set the cat among the pigeons for the Nigerians who held their nerve to record a rather pleasurable defeat.
This will be the first time Nigeria will be participating at the CHAN.
Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari on Saturday praised players and officials of Super Eagles Team B for earning Nigeria?s first-ever qualification to play in the finals of the African Nations Championship.
A joyous Maigari said: ?It was never going to be easy, but I was confident the Eagles would pull it through and make Nigeria proud. Of course, there were bound to be so many odds against them, being on away ground.
?To hold steadfast after that opening barrage on away ground is not easy; it takes a team that has strength of character and determination. I commend the players and their officials for a job well-done.?
Nigeriajoins Morocco, which eliminated Cup holders Tunisia, as well as Libya, Ghana, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Uganda and hosts South Africa in the 16-team finals due from January 11 next year.
Maigari added: ?You see, all these positives are coming because we now have peace in the football family. Peace is a catalyst for progress. And as I said on Channels Television on Thursday night, the NFF will remain eternally grateful to the Secretary to Federal Government,
Distinguished Senator Anyim Pius Anyim (GCON) and the Honourable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for brokering the peace.?
Nigeria missed the first two editions of the nascent championship, exclusively for footballers plying their trade in their country?s domestic League. Ghana shut out the Eagles from the inaugural edition in Cote d?Ivoire in 2009 while the Eagles? path to Sudan 2011 was barred by Niger Republic.


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