Samson Siasia, Head Coach of the National Under-23 football team, said in Abuja on Monday that he was celebrating its championship triumph in Senegal, in three folds.
Siasia, who said this at the secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on arrival from Senegal, told newsmen that his celebration was capped with the championship trophy.
The Dream Team VI defeated Algeria 2-1 in the final match to lift the title against all odds.
According to Siasia, securing 2016 Olympics ticket and the release of his mother kidnapped in Bayelsa prior to the championship, made the outing a three-in-one achievement.
He noted that the perseverance of his players and his determination to remain focused led to the success of the team.
“The kidnap of my mother took a lot out of me but I know there was nothing I can do in Senegal.
“So, I decided to be focused and think about something else that could inspire me to do well with the team I have.
“I was only hoping to qualify for the Olympics not the kidnapping of my mother because there was nothing I could do at that moment since I was not in Bayelsa.
“I was only keeping in touch with the people at home to ensure they get her out and thank God it paid off because we qualified for the Olympics, won the trophy and my mother was released,’’ Siasia said.
The coach commended his players for their doggedness during the championship and thanked Nigerians for their support and prayers.
He, however, urged the National Sports Commission and the NFF to ensure the team began early to prepare for the 2016 Olympics to avoid a repeat of the miserable experiences of the African championship.
He said, “I was only hoping to qualify for the Olympics, at least that would have been the best for me, going by our preparation; our preparation wasn’t the best.
“We had only 12 days to prepare in Gambia, coupled with other issues, while other countries had about two months or more.
“I was looking at us picking the second place or third place at least to get to Brazil, but thank God for the perseverance of the players because it paid off.’’
Siasia, who arrived the NFF secretariat at about 6 p.m., handed the under-23 trophy won in Senegal to the General Secretary of the NFF, Mohammed Sanusi.
Sanusi, who received the trophy on behalf of NFF President Amaju Pinnick, urged Siasia to ensure he submitted his programme for the 2016 Olympics in time to avoid a fire-brigade approach.
NAN also reports that most of the players dispersed from Lagos on arrival from Senegal.
Goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel and Sincere Seth were among those that arrived in Abuja with Siasia.
Daniel, who is the goalkeeper of Enugu Rangers, left Abuja immediately for Kaduna to see his family members. Seth plays for the Supreme Court FC, Abuja.
The team had since been decamped pending the submission and approval of the team’s 2016 Olympics programme by the NFF.