Morroco and Nigeria are hoping to make history by winning their first Championship of African Nations (CHAN) as they clash in the final of the 2018 competition being staged in Morocco.
Last Wednesday, the two teams won their semi-final matches to head for their first final berth and inch closer to their dream of lifting the trophy for the first time. Morocco beat Libya 3-1 in a gruelling extra-time encounter in the NorthAfrica derby, while Nigeria also dismissed Sudan 1-0 to set up the meeting in the final.
Sunday’s final will be a befitting end to a thrilling competition as Morocco push through their ‘host and win’ dream but the determined Nigeria stand in their way
A brace from Ayoub El Kaabi and one from Walid El Karti was enough for host Morocco to see off a resilient Libya side 3-1 on Wednesday in Casablanca to book a place in the final.
El Kaabi, the leading marksman in the history of the tournament thanks to his six goals in the previous four games, headed Morocco in front 18 minutes from time following Zakaria Hadraf's quick counter perfect cross on the left.
However, the hosts would be forced into extra time when Libya profited from goalkeeper Anas Zniti's error as he tried to dribble Saleh Taher with the ball.
Okechukwu Gabriel’s early goal helped the Eagles secure remain on course in their steady rise at this competition, given that they had a stuttering start.
Coach Salisu Yusuf is aware of the pressure from fans back home and will now want to now grab the trophy, having survived the scare and reached the final.
Yusuf led his troops to two wins in Group C as they defeated the Mediterranean Knights of Libya 1-0 and demolished Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea 3-1, after the initial draw against Angola.
Since winning their opening game, host Morocco have not looked back and topped Group A before they ousted surprise packages Namibia 2-0 in the quarter-finals as well as the emphatic win against Libya.
WIth the massive home support and with El Kaabi still on fire, the trophy looks like remaining in Morocco after Sunday.
Before the epoch final, former champions, Libya will seek some pride as they come up against Sudan in the third place match tomorrow night.