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Nigeria miss out on Olympics as Faleye wastes great chance

AFP logoAFP 11/15/2019 AFP
a group of men playing a game of football: Kouadio-Yves Dabila (L) kept the Ivory Coast in contention for a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with the only goal against Zambia in Cairo Friday © DENIS CHARLET Kouadio-Yves Dabila (L) kept the Ivory Coast in contention for a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with the only goal against Zambia in Cairo Friday

Nigeria missed out on a chance to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games football tournament when they were held 0-0 by South Africa in Cairo on Friday.

Unmarked Sunday Faleye wasted a great chance to snatch victory for the Nigerians in the final minute by heading a cross wide when a goal seem inevitable.

Ivory Coast edged Zambia 1-0 through a goal from centre-back Kouadio-Yves Dabila in the other Group B match of an eight-nation qualifying competition.

The final group matches were played simultaneously in the Egyptian capital with all four countries in contention for semi-finals places before the kick-offs. 

Ivory Coast (six points) topped the final standings followed by South Africa (five) and they advanced to the semi-finals next Tuesday while Nigeria (four) and Zambia (one) head home.

Impressive Group A winners Egypt will face South Africa at the penultimate stage followed by the Ivory Coast against Group A runners-up Ghana.

The semi-finals winners are guaranteed places at the Tokyo Olympics while the losers get a second chance in the third place play-off to fill the third and last African slot.

Egypt have competed at Olympic football tournaments 11 times -- a record for an African nation, but have never collected medals.

Ghana will be seeking a seventh appearance, South Africa a third and the Ivory Coast a second at a tournament where Nigeria (1996) and Cameroon (2000) have won gold.

Olympic qualifying is restricted to under-23 footballers, but three 'over-age' stars are permitted at the finals.

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