‘Win Olympics Ticket For Buhari’
NFF Tells U-23 Eagles
Their failure to earn a straight semifinal place, following a 2-2 draw with Junior Pharaohs of Egypt on Wednesday notwithstanding, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is optimistic the U-23 Eagles will brush aside Algeria in today’s last group match to brighten Nigeria’s chances of making it to next year’s Rio Olympic Games.
The Coach Samson Siasia-led Dream Team squandered a 2-0 lead to settle for a draw with Egypt in Wednesday’s second group game at the on-going Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, who watched the encounter against the Junior Pharaohs, said the players and their handlers had been given psychological boosting by the football house to go all out against Algeria in today’s encounter.
“I have the belief that Siasia will get the job done,” Pinnick said. “I met with them before my departure from Senegal and my message to them was to try as much as possible to win the Olympics ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari and they have agreed to do so.
“They are aware of the passion with which Nigerians back home are following the game, more so, when we did not qualify for the last Olympic Games in London. I am confident Siasia will fix whatever problem there is in the team and I don’t see Algeria stopping us from getting to the semi final,” Pinnick stated.
On Wednesday against Egypt, two kicks from the penalty box by Etebo Oghenekaro had shot Nigeria into a comfortable 2-0 at half time, but as it happened against Mali, Siasia’s boys switched off in the second half and almost lost the match, as Egypt scored twice.
A draw against Algeria could get Nigeria into the last four, should Egypt fail to defeat Mali.
Incidentally, Algeria was also the Dream Team’s final group phase opponents at the inaugural Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Morocco four years ago. Nigeria won 4-1, but went out of the tournament having lost her first two matches to Morocco and Senegal.