Fit-Again Awoniyi Keen On U-23 AFCON Final Start

By Izuchukwu Okosi:

Taiwo Awoniyi is optimistic that he will be fit to make Nigeria'a starting line-up in Saturday's CAF U-23 Cup of Nations final against Algeria at the Leopold Sengar Stadium in Dakar.

The Germany-based striker spoke exclusively to from the team's camp on the state of his ankle injury sustained in the 0-0 draw against Algeria in the group stages.

"I'm feeling much better and will be ready for the final," Awoniyi said.

"The injury has healed fast and I thank God for that. I hope to start in the final. It is the coach's decision anyway; he decides who starts or not. But I'm now alright."

Algeria broke a 35-year-old jinx to book a ticket to the football tournament of the Olympics while Nigeria became the first African nation to wait the gold medal in football in 1996. They won silver in 2008 with current team coach Samson Siasia in charge of the team to the Beijing Olympics seven years ago.

The Nigeria-Algeria final kicks off 8pm Nigerian time on Saturday. It will be preceded by the third-place final between hosts, Senegal, and South Africa at 5pm.

Nigeria, Algeria and one of Senegal or South Africa will represent Africa in Rio de Janeiro while the fourth-placed team will be involved in a play-off.

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