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Siasia promises different U-23 Eagles, welcomes back captain

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Nigeria’s national U23 team celebrating their passage to the Rio 2016 Olympics after beating Senegal in Dakar…on Wednesday. PHOTO: CAF

Nigeria’s national U23 team celebrating their passage to the Rio 2016 Olympics after beating Senegal in Dakar…on Wednesday. PHOTO: CAF

National U-23 football team coach, Samson Siasia, has promised to work on his team’s midfield to get them in top order before they face Algeria in the final game of the on-going African U-23 Nations Cup in Dakar, Senegal.

Siasia admitted that his boys were lucky in their 1-0 defeat of Senegal on Wednesday, adding, however, that fans will see a different Nigeria on Saturday.

Nigeria beat Senegal 1-0 courtesy of an Oghenekaro Etebo penalty, while Algeria bashed South Africa 3-1 in the second semifinal.

The final will hold in Dakar on Saturday by 7.00 p.m. local time.

Siasia confessed during the post match conference on Wednesday that “I think the ‘gods of football’ were with my team today because Senegal created most of the chances but they failed to score.

“Emmanuel Daniel (Goalkeeper) kept us in the match as he made some brilliant saves today. On another day, we could’ve been embarrassed.”

He said the win has achieved “our objective, which was to qualify for the Olympics,” adding that they will now plan for the game against Algeria, which would be a repeat of the group game against the same North Africans five days ago.

Algeria held Nigeria to a goalless draw in Group B game.

Siasia explained that his team was hampered by injuries to some of his key players and the suspension of team captain, Azubuike Okechukwu, who will be available for the final game.

Also looking forward to a better outing on Saturday is stand-in captain scorer, Oghenekaro Etebo, who says they would approach the game against Senegal as if it was the most important match of their lives.

The Warri Wolves forward, who stood in for suspended skipper of the side, Azubuike Okechukwu against Senegal, said winning the trophy is now the team’s focus after booking their ticket to the Olympics.

“We have achieved our number one objective which is to qualify for the Olympics.

“Now, we have a chance of becoming the best side at this level in Africa, hopefully we will beat Algeria on Saturday,” he said.


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