Nigeria has qualified for the finals of the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN), to be hosted by South Africa
despite losing 2-0 to Cote d’Ivoire in the final qualifier played in Abidjan on Saturday.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria qualified on a 4-3 goal aggregate having won the first leg of the qualifier in Kaduna by a comfortable margin of 4-1.
The Ivorian side, which dominated the game from the blast of the whistle, went ahead by a goal from Kevin Zougoula before scoring again from the penalty spot.
The 2-0 lead had instilled belief in the Ivoirians who had sensed a chance to upset the odds and beat the Nigeria for a place in the CHAN finals to be held in South Africa next year.
However, after some smart changes by Nigerian Coach Stephen Keshi during the interval, the Super Eagles were able to hold the Ivorians at bay and prevented them from scoring the third goal which would have sent them through to the championship.
This will be the first time Nigeria will be qualifying for the CHAN tournament, which is the African football championship reserved for African based national team players
Other teams in the finals are Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Uganda, Morocco, Libya, Mauritania, Ghana and host South Africa.
The second leg of qualifiers continue on Sunday with Mali playing Guinea, Sudan against Burundi, DR Congo facing Congo-Brazzaville.
Cameroon will also play Gabon while Botswana squares up with Zambia. In the other matches, Mozambique will lock horns with Namibia and Mauritius will slug it out with Zimbabwe to determine which teams will qualify for the competition.