By Monica Iheakam
Nigeria has booked their rightful place at the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 after brushing off visiting Squirrels of Benin Republic 2-0 at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano on Saturday.
The Super Eagles were aware that an early goal could boost their morale as they wanted to avenge the 1-0 loss at Stade l’Amitie last week.
Rabiu Ali put the CHAN Eagles ahead in the 22nd minutes before Kingsley Eduwo doubled the lead two minutes after the restart to seal passage for Nigeria on a 2-1 goal aggregate.
However goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa ended up as the hero of the day for Nigeria, when he saved a spot kick awarded to Benin Republic following a hand ball in the box by Emmanuel Ariwachukwu.
In other qualifiers, Zambia left it until late on Saturday at home to book their place at the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 after beating South Africa 2-0 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
A brace from Justin Shonga in the last ten minutes of the second half sealed Chipolopolo’s passage to their third finals in the history of the competition designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues, 4-2 win on aggregate.
Libya became the first team to qualify for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya after a 1-1 draw with Algeria in Sfax, joined by Morocco which beat Egypt 3-1 in Rabat both on Friday.
Fourteen places are up for grabs after Equatorial Guinea joined host Kenya for next year’s finals following the withdrawal of Gabon.