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NFF Hopeful, As U-23 Eagles Battle Mali


Taiwo Awoniyi PHOTO: AFP

Taiwo Awoniyi PHOTO: AFP

As it were at Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where a delegation of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) could not join the Golden Eaglets early, due to lack of fund, Coach Samson Siasia and his boys will have to commence their battle for Rio 2016 Olympics Games ticket without the usual support from officials of the federation.

The Senegal 2015 campaign will begin today with the host country taking on South Africa while the battle of two Eagles between Nigeria and Mali will take place tomorrow in the tourists’ resort of Mbour.

It was learnt yesterday that NFF is still battling to get money in Abuja for the delegation to join the team in Senegal.

The team made up of 21 players and 10 officials has already settled down in Senegal waiting to take the Malians to the cleaner.

The Nigeria U-23 team, who won Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold failed to make it to the London 2012 Olympics.

Mali has been on a high internationally this year after they finished third at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and were beaten by Nigeria in the final at Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup earlier this month.

The Malian Eagles are big and physical, meaning Coach Siasia must use players with athletic prowess to come out victorious.

The Dream Team VI, as Nigeria U-23 team is called, will begin their campaign on the artificial pitch of Caroline Faye Stadium by 5pm tomorrow. They rounded up their training camp in The Gambia with a big 5-0 win over The Gambian U-20 team after both teams first drew 1-1 in another warm-up game.

Meanwhile, NFF President Amaju Pinnick told The Guardian yesterday that he is optimistic Nigeria will have the upper hands against Mali in tomorrow’s clash. “I believe in the team and I am confident Siasia and the boys will do us proud.”

In March this year, Nigeria’s Flying Eagles won the 2015 AYC in Senegal under Coach Manu Garba.

Nigeria will face Egypt on December 2, while their last group match against Algeria will hold on December

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