Activities in the camp of Nigeria’s U-23 Men’s football team, Dream Team VI, will pick up this week as the Coach Samson Siasia-led technical crew moves training programme to the next level, as more players invited from the Nigeria Premier League get set to storm the camp of the team in Abuja.
Head Coach Samson Siasia was quoted by the team’s spokesman, Timi Ebikagboro, as saying that from 7 December, invited foreign-based professional players would be expected to join the team and commence their screening.
“We don’t have time on our hands, so from the program we have drawn up, the team will continue screening from the 1-6 December, then the overseas-based stars would join them from 7 December, while screening for all of them will continue till 12 December when we will, hopefully, travel to Bauchi to play a friendly game”, Siasia said.
Siasia disclosed that any home-based player who fails to report to the camp of the team between the 1-6 of December should forget about coming to camp, as they have all been given enough opportunity to showcase their talent and earn themselves a place in the team.
He added that from 8-11 December, the technical crew will concentrate on looking at the foreign-based players who will be interested in playing for the country.
Disclosing that the team’s technical crew have given over 1,000 players from the local scene enough time to fight for shirts, Siasia said aside the players from Enyimba FC who were invited and did not show up for the exercise, all other invited players from the Premier League honoured the invitation.
Speaking on why the technical crew had to go through this difficult process to get players for the team, the U-23 gaffer said based on his experience when he handled the Flying Eagles, and had some of his players disqualified days to their first game, he does not want to suffer same fate this time around.
“We want to be very meticulous this time around in the caliber of players who we will eventually settle for, I have used this method in the past and in the process discovered some players who were not known and today are stars. We have over 50,000 youths who are eligible to play in this team, so inviting only a handful of League players to camp is shutting the doors to over 49, 000 other eligible players”.
Siasia added that when the team reconvene on 4 January, 2015 after going on break on 20 December, all selected players must come with their international passports, while those from the local scene must add a photocopy of their club licence for the past season.
He also disclosed that only players born on or after 1 January 1993 are eligible to play for the team, and as such, all those who do not fall under this category need not bother to come to the camp even if they have been invited.
Siasia’s first assignment will be to qualify the team for the Men’s Football event of the 11th All-Africa Games taking place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in July 2015.
Their first hurdle will be a qualifying fixture against Gabon, with the first leg away in Libreville towards the end of February, and the return leg early March in Nigeria.
The winner of that fixture square up against the winner of the fixture between Zambia and Madagascar late March, 2015.