The battle line is drawn as Nigeria seek to pick a ticket to the African U-23 championships which is a qualification tourna-ment for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Between Nigeria and this ticket is the Congolese national U-23 side handled by Frenchman Claude Le Roy.
The first leg played a fortnight ago In PortHarcourt ended 2-1 in Nigeria’s favour. Although the Congo coach admitted the Nigerian team deserved to win with a bigger margin, describing the outcome as an ‘’unfair scoreline’’ to the Dream Team. His Nigerian counterpart, Samson Siasia would not take that as a submission or concession to his side’s superiority by the cunning Frenchman as he has described today’s clash as ‘’a must win.’’
Siasia told journalists in Abuja after Wednesday’s training, “I love big games.” He warned his boys to go into today’s match with all the seriousness it deserves, saying, “you must do everything to ensure victory comes our way. Only that way will you be writing your names in gold.’’ Most importantly, he told the players not to expect an easy match. They must fight with the last drop of sweat to achieve victory.
To underline his serious approach, Siasia invited five more players, including Sokari of Enyimba to fortify his squad for the all important clash.
The Dream Team have proven to be at home, wherever they play. Before the first leg fixture against Congo, the Samson Siasia tutored team played out a frustrating 1-1 draw against Zambia in Abuja and went to Lusaka to silence the home crowd with a 2-1 victory over their hosts, courtesy Taiwo Awoniyi brace. Awoniyi who started the Port Harcourt duel from the bench may be thrown into the fray from the beginning of today’s encounter in Point Noire.
“We are in Congo to win. The game in Congo would be different because they would come out to play and that would help us express ourselves and maybe get the goals.
“I am still worried about our goal scoring, as you can see we create lots of chances and fail to put them away. We cannot afford to do that in Congo.”
Le Roy on the other hand has invited six foreign based professionals for the encounter which he believes is still retrievable. “The Nigerians played very well but we are not a bad side either. With the additional players in camp, our guests will meet a different team from the one they played in Port Harcourt,” Le Roy said.