The Nigeria U-23 team, the Dream Team VI, are in a tricky situation where just avoiding defeat in their final group game against Algeria on Saturday may not be enough to see them qualify for the semi finals of the ongoing Africa U-23 Championships.
Lethargic performances that saw the Coach Samson Siasia tutored side give up healthy leads have now put them in a situation where they cannot afford any more slip ups if they are to continue in the race for a place at next year’s men Olympic football event in Rio.
Fortunately, Coach Siasia is not oblivious of the major problem plaguing his team and findings by PREMIUM TIMES suggest the coach might be making some changes in his starting line-up against the Algerians on Saturday.
The Nigeria coach has stated that he expects his players to step up their game as they all know what is at stake in Saturday’s crunch clash against the North African giants.
“I know the team has not done well so far. We could not hold our leads in the first two matches and we need to improve on our concentration. All these we are working on. Siasia assured.
He continued: “I am sure we will do better against Algeria. We have learnt lessons from Mali and Egypt and we know what to expect from Algeria. I know them and what they can do.
“They play mostly like the Egyptians. They like to play from the side and attack with many crosses. Their wing backs are always joining the attack, especially the left wing.
“They like to play with fast-counter attacks. We are ready for them and I believe we will hold them. I am sure that we will qualify. We will qualify. The Nigeria Coach affirmed
On his part, the Algeria’s under-23 national team coach, Pierre André Schurman, has declared that his side will go all out for victory against Nigeria in Saturday’s last group match as they want to emerge group leaders heading into the semi-finals.
Algeria bowed 4-1 to Nigeria in the 2011 edition in Morocco, with Raheem Lawal netting a treble for Coach Austin Eguavoen’s side at Stade de Marrakech, but Schurman believes Saturday will bring a different story in favour of his country.
Also, Algerian ex-international, Abdelhafid Tasfaout, shares same optimism like Coach Schurman as he declared that his country’s under-23 squad have what it takes to defeat the Nigerian side in Saturday’s crunch final group match.
Tasfaout told lebuteur.com; ““Nigeria is a good team that plays good football, but I also noticed they switch off in the second half. I wonder if they have a concentration problem. Is it a team that underestimates the others?
“Against us, it will be concentration for the whole game; we (Algeria) must not only defend well, but also try to surprise them.”
The Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar is the venue for the Nigeria/ Algeria clash and kickoff fixed for 6pm.
Stay with PREMIUM TIMES for live updates of the match.
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