U-23 Eagles ready for Senegal upset – Siasia

Eagles’ defence gives Siasia great concern

Nifemi Daniel

U-23 Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, has expressed confidence in his team’s ability to shock host, Senegal, in the semifinal of the ongoing Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations billed for Wednesday, December 9 in Dakar.

Nigeria’s quest for the 2016 Olympic ticket received a boost on Saturday as the U-23 Eagles booked their spot in the final four following a goalless draw against Algeria in their final group game at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor.

The hosts have been in sterling form thus far winning all three of their games in the group stages of the competition but Siasia maintained that his players are up to the task despite their shaky start into the competition.

“I would have preferred to play Senegal in the final but I have to do at the semis. It will be a great match because they will have the public behind them and we have to play and win.

“At the Africa Cup of Nations in 1992, I scored here (Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium), and this is why most Senegalese remember me. I will be around my players to repeat it on Wednesday,” he enthused.

Siasia, while praising his players for qualifying for the semifinal said Nigeria is inching closer to the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“I congratulate my team for not conceding and qualifying for the semi-finals. The most important thing was to qualify and we have achieved it. We wish we could garner the three points but I’m happy with qualifying and getting closer to Rio de Janeiro.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria captain, Azubuike Okechukwu, will miss the semifinal match against Senegal after picking up another yellow card during the Algerian match.

Similarly, Stanley Dimgba who has provided three assists in Nigeria’s group games against Mali and Egypt has been ruled out of the competition by a long-term ankle injury.

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