BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Battles of epic proportion are expected in Cairo this Friday as the U 23 Africa Cup of Nations Group B games get to the last stage.
The group is going down the wire as almost all the four teams have arithmetical chances of progresing to the semi-finals, even though South Africa’s position is almost assured.
South Africa with four points will face three-point Nigeria while Cote d’Ivoire which aallso have three points will meet Zambia which languish at the bottom with just a point.
Zambia can however outwit Cote d’Ivoire with any margin win and secure a berth into the semi-finals hoping to get a favourable result from the South Africa-Nigeria clash.
If Nigeria wins, Zambia drops if the southern African country fails to get more than two-goal margin win over Cote d’Ivoire.
For Nigeria, the calculation is simple. Win against South Africa and move ahead, irrespective of the other result. The same principle applies to South Africa who just need a point to confirm a semi-final slot.
Both matches hold at 8pm local time in Cairo and 6pm in Nigeria. From Group A, Egypt and Ghana have already qualified for the semi-finals.
The group leaders in Group B will face Ghana while the runners-up will meet with hosts, Egypt in the semi finals. The two winners of the semi-finals pick slots foor Tokyo 2020 Olympics while the losers will slug it out in the playoff for Africa’s third ticket/