THE Flying Eagles of Nigeria returned to the country Monday evening after bagging bronze at the just-concluded U-20 African Cup of Nations in Cairo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the third place winning contingent touched down at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja, aboard a commercial flight on Monday.
One of the midfielders, Solomon Anya, said the team was happy to have clinched a World Cup ticket for the country during the competition.
“I am happy that we qualified for the World Cup.
“We played our best to win the tournament, but that is football because our best was not enough,” he said.
NAN reports that the Flying Eagles played in Group A of the tournament alongside the eventual winners, Senegal, Mozambique and host Egypt.
The Flying Eagles lost their first match against Senegal 0-1, but pipped host Egypt 1-0 in the second game.
The Ladan Bosso-tutored team then beat Mozambique 2-0 to qualify for the quater-final against Uganda whom they beat 1-0, but thereafter fell 0-1 to Gambia in the semi-finals of the competition.
The team came to redemption in the third place match when they walloped Tunisia 4-0.
Aaside winning the third place match, the Flying Eagles also bagged the Fair Play award at the competition by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The team was adjudged the most disciplined team in the competition and rewarded for their good sportsmanship.
The skipper, Daniel Bamaiyi, received the award on behalf of the team at the closing ceremony on Saturday night.
Flying Eagles defenders, Augustine Njoku and Solomon Agbalaka, made the CAF Best XI of the 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Nigeria finished the tournament as the third best team after defeating Tunisia 4-0 in the 3rd place playoff on Friday, while Senegal on Saturday emerged winners after defeating The Gambia 2-0 in the final.
The Flying Eagles now have a date at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in May. (NAN)