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U-23 AFCON: Nigeria Renew Long Rivalry With Egypt

Nigeria's U-23 football national team will on Wednesday at the Stade Caroline Faye, M'Bour in Senegal play against Egypt in a Group B game of the CAF U-23 Cup of Nations.

The U-23 Eagles survived by the skin of their teeth against Mali on Sunday in their first game of the tournament winning 3-2 and will need a victory against the Junior Pharaohs to be guaranteed of qualification to the semi-finals.

Ahead of the game on Wednesday, Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI presents the previous meetings between both teams at the U-23 level and other times they have squared off at other levels…

In 1980, Nigeria had their first 'victory' over Egypt in the quest for a ticket to the football tournament of the Olympic Games.

The Egyptian team did not participate in that year's Olympics in Moscow in solidarity with the United States of America after USA President Jimmy Carter ensured a boycott following the Soviet's Afghanistan invasion.

Two African nations; Egypt and Ghana were among six countries that stopped their teams from travelling to Russia that year while another two African countries; Nigeria and Zambia took their places on
invitations.

On September 21, 1991, Nigeria's U-23 national team made up of players like Emmanuel Amuneke, John Zaki, Precious Monye amongst others defeated Egypt 2-1 in a Group A game of the All Africa Games which the north Africans hosted.

Egypt however triumphed over Nigeria exactly four years later (September 21, 1995) when Harare, Zimbabwe hosted the All Africa Games. Egypt went to win the gold medal while Nigeria settled for the bronze medal.

Nigeria in 1996 became the first African nation to win the football tournament of the Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America.

Egypt were one of the countries Nigeria's U-23 national side, the Dream Team, defeated in the qualifying series in Africa to reach the Olympics.

Both teams met in the second round. The U-23 Eagles coached by Jo Bonfrere defeated the North Africans 3-2 in Lagos and drew with the Pharaohs 1-1 in Cairo in the return leg.

At the senior level, Nigeria and Egypt have met 15 times.

The Super Eagles have won seven times, lost four and drawn four games. The last meeting between them was at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola which the Eagles lost 3-1 in a group stage match. Egypt went on to win the tournament.

A total of 44 goals have been scored in those 15 previous meetings, with Nigeria scoring 24 of them which is 54.55%.

(Goals scored in the penalty shoot-out between both countries on March 14, 1984 in an Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals game which Nigeria won 8-7 after it ended 2-2 at 90 minutes are not counted).

At the U-20 level, Nigeria defeated Egypt 2-0 on January 29, 2005 to win the CAF U-20 Youth Championship in Benin Republic which was their fifth shot at the title. Overall though, Nigeria are the most successful African team in the CAF U-20 Cup of Nations with seven titles.

The Africa Youth Championship (now known as the CAF U-20 Cup of Nations) just like the CAF U-23 AFCON in Senegal is for the 2016 Olympics, served as qualifiers to the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Holland which Nigeria were runners-up, losing 2-1 to Argentina, inspired by a certain Lionel Messi in the final.

On January 24, 2007 Nigeria and Egypt crossed paths again in the African Youth Championship in Congo. It was a Group B game. While Nigeria joined Zambia to reach the knock-out stages, Egypt and Cameroon were eliminated at the group stages.

Nigeria were runners-up at the Championship. They were one of Africa's representatives at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

The team comprised of players like Nduka Ozokwo (son of movie star, Patience Ozokwo), Chukwuma Akabueze and Brown Ideye amongst others).

On 19th January 2009, Kingsley Udoh and Yakubu Alfa scored for Nigeria's Flying Eagles as they defeated Egypt 2-0 in a Group B game of the African Youth Championship in Kigali.

Egypt defeated Nigeria 2-0 in the semi-finals stage of the African Youth Championship in Algeria on their way to winning the title.

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