Head Coach of the U-23 National Team, Samson Siasia has expressed confidence that his team will overcome their Congolese counterparts in Sunday’s African U-23 Championship final round, first leg qualifier at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Siasia, who led the Class of 2008 to runner-up position at the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, said this in a chat with the media at the Hotel Presidential abode of the team.
“I am very confident that Nigerians who will troop out en masse to see our match on Sunday will see one of the best displays ever by the Dream Team.
“As a team, my boys have always created chances, but our greatest problem has been to convert these chances to goals. We have been doing a lot of work in this critical area and if what I have seen in training of recent is anything to go by, then I can assure Nigerians that these boys will make them proud by scoring enough goals against the Congolese come Sunday.”
On the issue of the non-availability of most of the overseas-based professionals he invited for the game, Coach Siasia said neither himself nor the NFF has been taken unawares, as the match is only a qualifier for a continental competition and not on the FIFA calendar.
“For this reason, the clubs in Europe and elsewhere are not obliged to release these players, and that’s why we have been concentrating efforts in building the team around home-based professionals.”
The team, however, have the services of former junior international striker Umar Aminu, who was able to convince his club to release him for the game.
On his word to the fans who are expected to troop into the stadium for the game, Coach Siasia said he is appealing to them to fully support the Dream Team from the first blast of the referee’s whistle till the final whistle.
The Congolese delegation were expected in Port Harcourt on Friday evening.
Kenyan official Anthony Ogwayo will be the referee, with his compatriots Gilbert Cheruiyot, Joshua Achila and Andrew Juma Otieno as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and reserve referee respectively. The match commissioner is Alim Konate Aboubakar from Cameroon.