Nigeria out of 2015 African Cup of Nations after draw with South Africa

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Nigeria have failed to qualify for the 2015 African Cup of Nations meaning the reigning champions will not be able to defend their title in this winter’s competition.

The Super Eagles entered the final round of qualifying on Wednesday needing to beat South Africa, who had already clinched top spot in Group A.

But Stephen Keshi’s side blew the opportunity to turn around a sub-par campaign by going down two-nil early. A Sone Aluko brace brought Nigeria level in extra time but a third goal wasn’t in the cards and the runner-up spot went to Congo, who defeated Sudan 1-0.

The failure marks the second time in three years that Nigeria has failed to advance to an Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Equatorial Guinea. The tournament is set to be played January 17th through February 8th with Ivory Coast, Algeria and Ghana the favorites to take top prize. Joining those sides as finalists for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo Brazzaville, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia.