Siasia upbeat despite overseas-based players’ absence
Nigeria will still beat Zambia in Lusaka to qualify for the 2015 All Africa Games’ football event despite the unavailability of some of the overseas-based players invited for this weekend’s final qualifier, says national Under-23 team coach, Samson Siasia.
Siasia, who says he is not bothered by the refusal of some European clubs to release their players invited for the match, believes he has enough weapon in his armoury to beat the Young Chipolopolo of Zambia.
Of the three invited overseas-based players only Sadiq Atanda of FK Appolonia of Albania will make the team, as the duo of Paul Onuachu and Aminu Umar have not been released by their clubs. And Siasia says it is not a problem not having the other two players.
“We will always pick the best players irrespective of where they play and even if those guys don’t make it to the camp, we will still go ahead with the game.
“We have very good players here and we shall select the best. The task remains to qualify for the All Africa Games and that is what we have in mind.
“Their clubs say they can’t release them and there’s nothing we can do about that because it’s not a FIFA free window. So we will make do with what we have on ground and hopefully we’ll get the result we need,” he said.
Nigeria could only play out a 0-0 draw in the first leg three weeks ago, and must now play a score draw or win in Lusaka for them to be guaranteed a place at the games.
Enyimba FC duo of Peter Onyekachi and Kingsley Sokari have rejoined the team after their continental duties for their club, only the duo of Oghenekaro Etebo and Freedom Omofonma of Warri Wolves, who went with their club to Ethiopia for continental duties are still being expected as of yesterday.
Zambia will be favourites to go through in the final round of the qualifiers and they will be aiming to cause an upset against the 1996 Olympic Games Football Champions.
The Nigerian side are expected to depart for Lusaka tomorrow from Abuja aboard an Ethiopian Airline for the game scheduled to be played on Sunday.
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