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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: ‘A special moment for me and my family’ – Sadiq revels in maiden Nigeria goal

7:45 PM MYT 20/01/2022
Umar Sadiq, Nigeria - Super Eagles
The 24-year-old striker is proud of how he performed against the Djurtus as the Super Eagles claimed their third win in their group

Umar Sadiq is delighted to have scored his first goal for the Nigeria senior national team in their 2-0 triumph over Guinea-Bissau in Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations encounter.

In his first start at the ongoing African football showpiece, the Spain-based striker put the Super Eagles in the lead in the 56th minute after he was teed up by Kelechi Iheanacho.

Sadiq was subbed off a minute later for Peter Olayinka and captain William Troost-Ekong sealed the win with 15 minutes left to play.

Buoyed with his goal-scoring performance against Baciro Cande’s Djurtus, the 24-year-old revelled and explained what the goal meant to him.

“I'm so excited getting on the scoresheet, it is a special moment for me and my family,” Sadiq told GOAL.

“Every game is different, the more you go forward the more you face hard times. We have to prepare our minds and be ready for what the future brings.

“You can see a lot of hardworking players and talents. We will keep moving as a team and go forward together.”

Sadiq represented the country at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He appeared in all six of his team's games in the global competition and scored four goals in the process, including a brace in the third-place victory over Honduras.

He was first called up to the Super Eagles squad by Gernot Rohr for the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying matches against the Benin Republic and Lesotho in March 2021.

After accruing nine points from three matches, Augustine Eguavoen’s men finished as 2021 Afcon Group D winners, while Guinea Bissau and Sudan bowed out of the tournament.

The 2013 Afcon winners will know their Round of 16 opponents after the completion of the group matches on Thursday night.

Since Nigeria’s first outing at the 1963 Afcon finals in Ghana, they have featured in 19 editions and have won the diadem on three occasions (Nigeria 1980, Tunisia 1994 and South Africa 2013).

Their last outing in the competition ended on a bronze medal finish as they defeated Tunisia 1-0 in the third place-off, where Odion Ighalo’s first-half effort earned the Super Eagles a win at Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.