Super Eagles goal hero against Sudan in Wednesday's semi-final 2018 CHAN fixture Okechukwu Gabriel who was voted the game's Man of the Match says he is saddened by the injury to Nigeria's first choice goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa but insists former U-17 World Cup winner Oladele Ajiboye is equal to the task.
Okechukwu, who scored the winner against Angola in the quarter-final in Tangier on Sunday scored in the 16th minute as Nigeria survived onslaughts from the Desert Hawks to reach a first
final in the history of the championship designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.
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Okechukwu and his team-mates were dealt a major blow as early as the fifth minute when Ezenwa was forced off after colliding with Mohamed Hashim. However, his replacement Ajiboye proved equal to the task as his superb saves was
vital in the Super Eagles progress to the decisive stage of the competition.
Speaking to CAF's official website, the Akwa United FC striker said: "I’m excited that we won. It was a collective effort not
just one man effort. Kudos to the whole team.
"It was not an easy game but in the end, we emerged victorious
. The victory means a lot to get to this stage.
"I felt bad when Ikechukwu Ezenwa was injured because for a player to get injured whilst playing is not a good feeling.
"However, I did not panic because I knew the substitute (Ajiboye Oladele) was equal to the task.
" said Okechukwu
Ajiboye preserved Nigeria's lead with two decisive saves in stoppage time as Sudan were left to rue their missed opportunities.
Nigeria will face Morocco in Sunday’s final, whilst Sudan battles Libya in third
place match 24-hours earlier.