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Aribo buzzing after scoring against Ukraine in debut game

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Joe Aribo (c) PHOTO: FUTAA

• Odey, Awoniyi not sure of African U-23 Nations Cup
Joe Aribo, who made his debut for the Super Eagles in Tuesday’s international friendly against Ukraine, said he was ‘buzzing’ after his goal-scoring first game for Nigeria in the 2-2 draw. He admitted that it was a “special day” for him and his family to play for the Super Eagles.

Aribo hit the net just four minutes into the clash leading Nigerian fans to lose their minds over their newly-anointed star.

The Glasgow Rangers midfielder confessed the result was “unfortunate” as the hosts fought back from 2-0 down to draw level in the dying minutes but Aribo was happy overall.

“Buzzing to make my debut for Nigeria,” Aribo posted on Twitter.

“Unfortunate with the result but happy to score on my debut, a special day for me and my family and one I’ll remember.”

Aribo who churned out a great performance overall also came close to getting another goal midway through the first 45 minutes with a diving header, which was, however, parried for a corner-kick by Ukraine goalkeeper, Andriy Lunin.

Despite increasing their lead through a penalty from Victor Osimhen, the Super Eagles eventually surrendered their two-goal lead with the Ukrainians scoring twice late in the second stanza to earn a share of the spoils.

Aribo’s focus will now be back on Glasgow Rangers, who are eager to bounce back from their Old-Firm defeat with a victory where they are next in action on Saturday against Livingston.

Meanwhile, Europe-based stars, Taiwo Awoniyi and Stephen Odey have admitted they cannot confirm their participation at the forthcoming U-23 African Nations Cup in Egypt in November as it will be the decision of their respective clubs.

Both strikers featured for Nigeria’s U-23 team to qualify for the tournament, which is also a qualifying series for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the expense of Sudan.

Awoniyi is on loan from Liverpool to Bundesliga club, Mainz 05, while Odey only recently signed for Belgian club, KRC Genk from FC Zurich in Switzerland.

“The tournament is not in the FIFA calendar and so, it will be down to my club to release me or not,” said Awoniyi, who opened scoring for Nigeria’s U-23 in a 5-0 demolition of Sudan at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Tuesday.

“I am not sure I will be released by my club because the season will still be on by the time of the tournament,” Odey told score.com.

“If I am not there, I will still wish the team the best of luck in Egypt.”

The U23 AFCON tournament will kick off on November 8.

Several key players based overseas failed to feature at the 2015 U-23 AFCON in Senegal after their clubs decided not to release them.


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