By Richard Jideaka:
Nigeria Under-23s coach Samson Siasia has defended the invitation of unattached Dele Alampasu to the Olympic team as purely based on his belief in the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup-winning goalkeeper.
While reacting to the invitation of Alampasu, who has not seen competitive action since 2013 when he kept goal for Nigeria on the way to winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE, Siasia said the young man has qualities of a great goalkeeper and he and the U-23s goalkeeper trainer Aloy Agu has undertaken to nuture him.
“I invited Alampasu based on what I saw of him during the U-17 World Cup and his zeal each time I called him to join us at the Under-23 camp,” Siasia told completesportsnigeria.com. “His being clubless does not really matter. So long as he proves himself at training and he is up to speed with the level of the team, I will keep on inviting hIm.
“For those who might read other meanings to Alampasu getting my attention, I don’t know this guy outside watching him keep the post at the Under-17s and making the Manu Garba-led Under-20 World Cup team in New Zealand. He was clubless when he made these squads, so there must be something good about him.
“My duty as a coach is to identify talents and aside from moulding them, encourage them to become better players. Alampasu is a talent that should not be allowed to waste away. He will develop to complete the circle, I believe.”
The coach who led Nigeria to the final of the Olympic soccer event in Beijing, China in 2008 said he would always give Alampasu the chance to fight for a place in the team, adding the young man has the potential to keep goal for the Super Eagles one day.
Alampasu is one of the eight players Siasia called up from the Flying Eagles. The others are Simon Moses, Musa Mohammed, Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Godwin SavIour, Musa Yahaya and Kingsley Sokari.