Siasia sure U-23 Eagles will survive in Congo
Takes 20 players to Brazzaville
Head Coach, Samson Siasia, has expressed confidence his boys will come out of the cauldron of Pointe Noire in flying colours after Sunday’s potentially –explosive 2015 African U-23 Championship final qualifying match.
A slim 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Port Harcourt means a battle is at hand in a Congo-Brazzaville reputed for all manner of tactics against every visiting team.
Yet, Siasia is unfazed as he announced just before the team’s departure on yesterday that he relishes big games. “I love big games, and I am not shy to say so. This is with every sense of modesty.
Pointe Noire is another tough session, but I look forward to it.” Siasia was in charge of the Nigeria U-23 team that also to negotiate tough runs to the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2008 Olympics.
On November 16, 2007, the team needed at least a draw against Ghana in Accra to be in good stead for the ticket, and duly played out a 0-0 draw. Siasia’s boys completed the job with a 3-0 win over South Africa in Abuja in March 2008.
Although Siasia’s team lost the Olympics gold to Argentina in Beijing, the former Eagles’ skipper was in charge when the Super Eagles achieved a first –ever win over the Argentines – a 4-1 win in a friendly in Abuja on June 1, 2011.
The former star forward was also in charge of the Nigeria U-20 team that won silver at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in The Netherlands in 2005.
Recently, Siasia’s U-23 boys won both away matches on the road to qualifying for the 11th All-Africa Games football tournament – a 4-1 win over Gabon in Libreville and 2-1 defeat of Zambia in Lusaka. “It will not be easy; nothing good in life comes easy. But we will give it our very best shot and return from Pointe Noire with victory.”
Siasia has picked 20 players for the trip to Congo, with rising star, Taiwo Awoniyi, one of them. Speaking to the players before departure for Congo yesterday, Siasia said “the team’s focus is to go to Congo and make the nation proud. “For those of you selected, this is a golden opportunity for you to show to Nigerians and the world that your first leg victory is not a flash in the pan.
And as such you must fight hard when we get to Pointe Noire and beat the Congolese.’’ The selected players were Daniel Emmanuel, Atanda Sodiq, Stanley Amuzie, Azubuike Okechukwu, Olusegun Oduduwa, Erhun Obanor, Godwin Saviour and Etebo Oghenekaro.
The others were Junior Ajayi, Usman Mohammed, Etor Daniel, Yusuf Mohammed, Chima Akas, Semiu Liadi, Shehu Abdullahi, Kingsley Sokari, Taiwo Awoniyi, Umar Aminu, Austin Oladapo and Sincere Seth.