The Super Eagles of Nigeria had their dreams of African glory crushed by the Atlas Lions of Morocco in the 2018 Total African Nations Championship Final on Sunday at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco.
The Super Eagles had fought bravely throughout the competition seeing off tough oppositions to get to the final but things fell apart in front of the host nation who roared to victory in Casablanca.
The Nigerian home based players had beaten Libya and Equatorial Guinea after drawing Rwanda to qualify from their group. They then defeated Angola in dramatic fashion after coming back at the last minute or regulation time before beating the Angolans in extra time. Nigeria set up a semi final with Sudan who had been unbeaten in the competition.
Nigeria got an early goal through Gabriel Okechukwu in the semi final and hung on to their lead to end the game 1-0, however, they lost experienced goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa through injury but Dele Ajiboye was up to the task as he kept the Sudanese out bravely with daring saves. Also, midfielder Ifeanyi Ifeanyi picked up a second yellow card to confirm that he would be missing the final that the host nation had already qualified for.
Zakaria Hadraf got a goal late in the first half after a resilient defensive display from Nigeria. The woe compounded for the super eagles after Peter Moses picked up a red card three minutes into the second half an the Lions quickly added another goal through Walid El Karti on the hour mark. This already spelled doom for Nigeria as the home fans began jubilating with frenzy like the title was won alredy.
The Super Eagles put up a little fight but it was for nothing as Hadraf added his second of the night with a calm finish before Ayoub El Kaabi added another goal. Morocco came close to making it five but the game was already one, Nigeria had lost.
The home based Super Eagles would hope that their impressive run in this competition would make some of the players get a chance to play at the World Cup in Russia but they are devastated tonight because of the results and the manner the cup was lost.
Congratulations to Morocco for winning CHAN 2018