SIASIA 2Chief Coach of Nigeria’s Under-23 national team, Dream Team VI Eagles, Samson Siasia has released the final 21-man squad that would prosecute the 2015 U-23 African Nations’ Championship.

The championship which kicks off on Saturday in Dakar, Senegal will also be used as the final qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Siasia’s squad list contains only four foreign-based professionals with the rest of the players drawn from the domestic league.

The foreign professionals are strikers Taiwo Awoniyi from German second division side FSV Frankfurt, Junior Ajayi of Tunisian club CS Sfaxien, Isaac success from La Liga side Granada as well as midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu, who is based in Turkey.

There are no players from seven-time champions Enyimba after the coach dropped Kingsley Sokari and Etor Daniel for insisting on leaving training camp to play a final league game with their club in Lagos.

None of the four players called up from the victorious U-17 world champions including Victor Osimhen made the final cut.

As many as 12 players on this squad were not at the recent All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville, where Nigeria’s Dream Team VI placed third at the expense of the host team.

Nigeria will begin their campaign on Sunday against Mali in Mbour. They will also battle Egypt on December 2 in Mbour and three days later play their final group B match against Algeria in Dakar.

The top three teams will qualify automatically for next year’s Olympics in Rio.

Meanwhile, Tunisia-based striker Junior Ajayi has vowed to help Nigeria win the 2015 U-23 AFCON in Senegal.

Ajayi is one of four overseas-based stars on the Nigeria U-23 final squad for the tournament, which gets underway on Saturday in Dakar. “I have come to contribute my little quota in ensuring that we not only pick an Olympic ticket, but also win the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations,” said Ajayi on arrival in Banjul, The Gambia, to join the team prior to the tournament.

“I can’t describe how I feel any time I report for national duty. For me, it’s an honour to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians, this I have come to do, God willing.”

Ajayi scored the two goals that eliminated Congo Brazzaville from the U-23 championship, which will serve as qualifying tournament for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The full squad:

Goalkeepers: Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers), Yusuf Mohammed (Kano Pillars), Emmanuel Iwu (Heartland).

Defenders: Sincere Seth (Supreme Court FC), Seun Oduduwa (Nath Boys), Zaharadeen Bello (Kano Pillars), Seun Olubayo (Sunshine Stars), Chizoba Amaefule (Dolphins), Ebuka Iroha (Diamond Football Academy).

Midfielders: Ndifreke Effiong (Abia Warriors), Usman Mohammed (FC Taraba), Tiongoli Tobara (Bayelsa United), Bature Yaro (Nasarawa United), Oghenekaro Etebo (Warri Wolves), Azubuike Okechukwu (Yeni Matalatyaspor/Turkey), Godspower Aniefiok (Kano Pillars), Stanley Dimgba (Warri Wolves).

Forward: Kufre Ebong (Warri Wolves), Junior Ajayi (CS Sfaxien/Tunisia), Taiwo Awoniyi (FSV Frankfurt/Germany), Isaac Success (Granada CF/Spain).

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)

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