The Nigeria B team suffered a 4-1 defeat in Sunday’s African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifying match against Togo in Lome.
Last season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) joint-top scorer Sunusi Ibrahim had given Imama Amapakabo’s side an early lead eight minutes into the first leg tie.
However, the Sparrow Hawks clawed their way back as Richard Nane pulled the home team level in the 16th minute and with three more goals in the second half, the Nigeria B team are left with all the work to do in their quest to make it to Chan 2020.
The hurriedly assembled team were made up mainly of the country’s U23s with a sprinkling of experienced players from the NPFL like captain Mfon Udoh, goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai and striker Sikiru Alimi.
The game at Stade de Kegue started brightly for Nigeria with Sunusi getting the opener in the eighth minute.
But Nane scored the first of his two goals in the 16th minute as the teams held on to end the first half even at 1-1.
Nane, who was a thorn in the flesh of the Nigeria defence, completed his brace in the 67th minute before further goals from Tchakei Marouf in the 75th minute and Ashraf Agoro in stoppage time saw the Hawks secure a healthy lead going into the second leg.
The Nigeria B team, who reached the 2018 Chan final in Morocco, will now need to win the return leg next month at home by at least three clear goals to make it to Cameroon 2020.