The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogenekaro Etebo broke the deadlock in the 76th minute when he converted a penalty after striker Victor Oshimen was brought down in the 18 yard box.
The win automatically qualified the country for the 2016 Olympics, irrespective of the outcome of the final match at the ongoing Africa Under-23 Championship in Senegal.
Nigeria had defeated Mali 3-2 in the group’s first match; played a 2-2 draw with Egypt in the second match and 0-0 against Algeria in the third encounter before the semi-final tie with host Senegal.
It was a big reprieve for the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which are yet to pay the players and coaches their match allowances and bonuses since the tournament commenced.
Goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel was the hero of the semi-final encounter as he made about four crucial saves, including a penalty in the 45th minute to keep the Dream Team’s hope of qualification alive.
Nigeria will now trade tackles with the winner of the match between South Africa and Algeria in the final on Saturday.
NAN reports that only three top teams from this championship will qualify to represent Africa in the football event of the 2016 Olympics.
The fourth place finisher at the tournament will have to play and win another team from Oceania, in a play-off to be guaranteed a ticket for the Olympics.