Nigeria have become the first African team to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil, after they beat Ethiopia 4-1 on aggregate.
The African Champions defeated Ethiopia 2-0 in the second leg of their qualifier in Calabar on Saturday.
The victory continued an outstanding year for the Super Eagles, after they won the African title for the first time in nearly a decade.
Victor Moses converted a 20th-minute penalty after an Ethiopian handball, and Victor Obinna scored in the 82nd minute to send the African champions to Brazil.
Ethiopia had been trying to reach its first World Cup after emerging as the surprise team of the African qualifying campaign.
Ethiopia’s Aynalem Hailu was penalized for handball inside 20 minutes for Nigeria’s penalty after the ball bounced up off his chest and hit his arm.
Obinna scored from a free kick soon after arriving as a substitute to seal Nigeria’s qualification.
The Super Eagles are now through to their fifth World Cup in the past two decade.
Ivory Coast qualifies
The win means that 32-year-old Premier League footballer Shola Ameobi is set to play in his first World Cup tournament.
“It is not something I thought was going to happen,” said the Nigeria-born Newcastle United striker, who grew up in the north-east English city, the Mail Online reports.
“I always thought I would be sat in a bar watching it. I might get a chance to play in it now. I know nothing about being at a championship of that magnitude.”
Five teams will represent Africa at next year’s tournament in Brazil.
Ivory Coast qualified for a third straight World Cup after surviving a nervous finish to draw 1-1 with Senegal for a 4-2 aggregate win in the African playoffs on Saturday.
Didier Drogba gave away the penalty that put Senegal one goal away from a major upset, but the veteran striker will get another chance – probably his last – at the World Cup after Salomon Kalou’s injury-time strike sealed the Ivorians’ place in Brazil next year.
If Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Algeria and Ghana qualify, Africa will be represented by the same five teams that made it to South Africa’s World Cup.