It really a trying time for Dream Team coach, Samson Siasia as most of his reliable players have left the shores of Nigeria for greener pastures in foreign lands, but the headache he faces now is the double invitation most of the players he hopes to replace the ones that left have.
To make matters worse, some of the invited players who arrived camp earlier, had to leave camp to report to the Super Eagles camp to which Coach Sunday Oliseh has also invited them. Siasia expressed this frustration at the FIFA Goal Project when he had only eight of the invited players, as their clubs did not release the others after he permitted them to play last weekend games.
“How can I prepare well for a competition as important as the All Africa Games when clubs in the local scene have refused to release their players for the camping exercise? We have barely two weeks to our first game and up till now I have only 8 players to work with.” Most of the club managers called to appeal that we allow their players play last weekend games, a request I approved, with an appeal to them that they should release the players on Monday.
This is Tuesday and I still have not seen the players as most of them have called to say their clubs are holding on to them for mid-week games. This is not fair.”
According to Coach Siasia, he had to make this appeal to the NFF who are his employers and the father of all to intervene on the issue because as things stand now, he cannot submit a list of players for the All Africa Games, as some of his players have gone abroad to sign for clubs. Appealing to the clubs to help him out, the U-23 coach said they should give him all the assistance and cooperation they gave him in the early stages of his preparations for the qualifiers as that is the only way he can make the nation proud.
As at Tuesday’s training only eight players, Segun Oduduwa, Sincere Seth, Ikechukwu Okorie, Oliseh Ndah, Etebong Elisha, Oladapo Augustine, Mohammed Yusuf and Abiodun Akande trained, while Tonbara Tiongoli, Semiu Laidi and Ndifreke Effiong sat out due to various injury concerns. Meanwhile, Siasia has invited three more players to beef up the team. The invited players are Stephen Eze (Sunshine Stars), Lawal Shittu (Giwa FC) and Christian Pyagbara (Sharks FC).