The Zambia U23 men’s national football team has been eliminated from the All Africa Games after they lost the second leg qualification match 2 – 1 to Nigeria at National Heroes Stadium on Sunday.
After holding the Nigerians to a goalless draw in the first leg played a fortnight ago, Zambia were expected to outclass their visitors but they conceded in the last ten minutes of the first half to hand the advantage to the Dream Team VI.
Striker Taiwo Awoniyi was on hand to slide the ball into the bottom corner following a square pass from Saviour who had beaten Chishimba Changala for pace in the 34th minute.
However, it was Zambia who had the better chances in the opening exchanges with Patrick Ngoma, Mukuka Mulenga and Ronald Kampamba putting pressure on the Nigerian defence.
Shadreck Malambo could have opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but his deflected effort came off the crossbar.
Zambia returned for the second half more purposeful needing to score at least two goals and many chances were created but substitute Friday Samu and Kampamba were not clinical enough as their efforts were direct at Nigeria’s goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel.
With the clock winding down, Chishimba Changala floated the ball into the area for Malambo who skillfully set up Samu for a close range tap in for the equaliser in the 76th minute.
Ten minutes later, Zambia were guilty of defending high up field and got caught on the counter when Awoniyi beat the offside trap to slot the ball underneath Toaster Nsabata who despite getting a touch did not do enough to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
Zambia almost equalised immediately but Daniel was alert to keep out Moses Phiri’s long range effort as Nigeria held on for a win and a place at the 2015 All Africa Games
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)