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It’s end of road for Senegal, U-23 Eagles vow

By Gowon Akpodonor   |   09 December 2015   |   5:10 am  
Nigeria will meet Senegal in one of the semifinals of the on-going African U-23 Nations Cup in Dakar… today.

Nigeria will meet Senegal in one of the semifinals of the on-going African U-23 Nations Cup in Dakar… today.

• NFF boss wishes Siasia, players best of luck

The winner of the tie will pick one of the three automatic tickets to Rio 2016 Olympic Games, while the loser will have to play in the third place game to determine if it will take the third ticket or go through a play off next year.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, said the players were in high spirit waiting to take on the Senegalese.

“I spoke with them a few minutes ago and they are fully ready for the match,” Pinnick said. “They have promised not to let Nigerians down in the game. I spoke with Coach Samson Siasia and he said they were aware of the huge task ahead of them because it takes a lot to defeat a host country in a competition of this magnitude. Senegal is a good team any day, but I believe our boys will cage them in front of their home fans. I wish them the very best of luck,” Pinnick said.

The U-23 Eagles missed out at London 2012 Olympic Games and the national female team, Super Falcons, had already been knocked out Rio 2016 Games, following their defeat by Equatorial Guinea earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, Kano Pillars defensive midfielder, Godspower Anefiok, is most likely to start in place of suspended Nigerian skipper, Azubuike Okechukwu in today’s semi-final against Senegal.

Okechukwu will miss the semi-final after he was booked against Mali and Algeria.

Godspower got his first start in the final Group B match against Algeria on Wednesday, but he was played out of position as a winger.

Officials said the former Akwa United star will now stabilize the team’s rather shaky defence as he will focus more on doing his defensive shift as against Okechukwu, who preferred to join the attack.

Bayelsa United winger, Toingoli Tonbara, is also expected to get his first start in Senegal in place of the injured Stanley Dimgba.

He was a second half substitute against Algeria and his mazy dribbles troubled the defence of the North Africans.



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