Nigeria U-23s coach Samson Siasia has stated that his players are condemned to pick one of the tickets for next year's Olympic Games in Rio.
The U-23 Eagles will take on hosts Senegal in the semi-final of the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday, inside the Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Dakar.
Both teams clashed at the men’s football event of the 11th All-Africa Games in Brazzaville in September, with Nigeria scoring a last-minute goal to tie the match 1-1.
According to a release by the Nigeria Football Federation media officer, Demola Olajire, Siasia admitted that it will be a tough game, but expressed confidence that they can qualify.
"We are not going back home empty-handed; it's no retreat, no surrender. We have to get ourselves ready for tomorrow's game; it's going to be a difficult one. It’s going to be eleven players against eleven, so we have our chances to qualify," Siasia said.
Siasia played down the absence of skipper Azubuike Okechukwu, who is suspended after receiving a second yellow card in the game against Algeria on Saturday.
“We would have loved to have Azubuike because he is the captain and a big motivator, and you have to have a leader on the field. But he’s suspended, so we have to live with that. There is no need crying over spilt milk. In life, you always have to make adjustments in several areas. Azubuike’s absence will give another player the opportunity to prove himself.”
Reacting on his rearguard that has conceded four goals in three games, Siasia said: “We have learnt our lessons. Two games in which the first half looked good and the last half didn’t. We made our corrections and you can see from how we played in the last game.”
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