Embattled national U23 Dream Team VI Eagles coach, Samson Siasia has identified Manchester City youngster, Kelechi Iheanacho and his Liverpool counterpart, Taiwo Awoniyi as two key players he needs to fortify his squad to prosecute the 2015 African U23 Championship/ 2016 Olympics qualifiers billed for Senegal.
Both former Flying Eagles strikers missed the 2015 All African Games which the Eagles clinched the bronze medal because of club commitments as the AAGs football competition was not on Fifa free calendar.
Siasia disclosed that securing the services of both players would strengthen the squad as they aim to pick one of the tickets to represent Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games, while planning a warm up game against the Brazil U23 team before heading for the competition.
“If we can get the likes of (Kelechi) Iheanacho, (Taiwo) Awoniyi it would be great for the team. I have been talking to the two players to see if they can be a part of this team. Hopefully their clubs would release them. To get the clubs to release them is the only problem we have, otherwise we will stick with the ones we have and start working on improving our goal scoring abilities. If we start changing too many players now it’s going to destroy the whole team,” he said.
Nigeria will face Mali, Algeria and Egypt in the African U23 competition billed to hold in November this year. According to the former Super Eagles gaffer, strong training and warm up games have been mapped out to get the team prepared for the championship.
“We hope to play strong football playing nations like Brazil and any other country before we jet out for the African tournament in Senegal. This will prepare us well for the task ahead in Senegal,” Siasia he said, stressing that camping for preparations for the African Championship in Senegal will start in October.
He gave a post-mortem of the team’s performances at the AAG: “We didn’t play that bad in Congo Brazzaville in the just concluded All Africa Games. Our problem is scoring goals and we will keep working on that, he concluded. We need to just learn from our mistakes and make sure that it won’t repeat itself in Senegal.
By Olisemeka Obeche