Centre half of Libya’s under 23 side, Ayoub Mustapha has blamed the weather conditions at the Stephen Keshi Stadium for his side’s scandalous defeat to the Nigerian side.
Nigeria sailed into the final round of the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations qualifying series on Monday, beating Libya 4-0 on the back of a Victor Osimhen treble at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
The North Africans won the first leg 2-0 in Ben Guerdane, Tunisia on Wednesday last week, and came fully prepared to defend their advantage. But Osimhen, alongside fellow U17 World Cup winners Kelechi Nwakali, Samuel Chukwueze and Orji Okonkwo bossed proceedings in a one–sided affair in the city that is fast turning to Nigeria’s football capital.
“The weather was the difference. We aren’t used to this condition,” Ayoub Mustapha said after the match on Tuesday.
“Nigeria performed well and deserved to win.”
When asked if his teammates were to be blamed for the scandalous defeat, the central defender said, “I won’t blame my teammates for the loss.”
“We trained for just eight days which wasn’t enough for a game of this magnitude.”
Nigeria will square up against the winner of the Kenya/Sudan fixture in the final round of qualifiers in June, with the winner to be eligible for a place at the 3rdAfrica U23 Cup of Nations in Egypt in November. The three –top placed teams at that championship will represent Africa at the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.