Don’t drop many players, Fuludu warns Siasia

Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations winner Edema Fuludu has warned the national Under-23 team coach Samson Siasia that radically overhauling his squad could   scupper the country’s chances of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

 

Siasia on Tuesday declared his readiness to make serious changes to his squad for the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal after guiding Nigeria to a surprise 3-1 defeat to Burkina Faso in the semifinals of the Brazzaville 2015 All Africa Games men’s football match on Tuesday.

 

But his former Super Eagles teammate Fuludu believes Siasia needs very few players in the Senegal 2015 squad to turn their fortunes around.

 

Nigeria are drawn in the same group against Egypt, Algeria and Mali in the eight-team Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations from November 28 to December 12. The three top finishers will represent the continent at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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“It’s sad that we lost to Burkina Faso,” Fuludu, who won the Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations alongside Siasia, told our correspondent on the telephone on Wednesday.

 

“It’s a psychological blow for the team ahead of the Olympic qualifiers, but the coach shouldn’t panic.

 

“He should help the players regain their confidence and plan for the Olympic qualifiers.

 

“Winning bronze will boost their confidence. They should do everything to return home with something from the Games.”

 

The former Nigeria midfielder added, “The coach should drop the players who are not good enough for the team and invite new players. But he needs just a few new players because it could backfire if he invites many new players.

 

“I believe we will qualify for the Olympic Games.”

 

Siasia, who seethed about the manner of his team’s defeat by Burkina Faso, launched a stinging attack on his largely home-based team, vowing to drop a number of them after Brazzaville 2015.

 

“I never imagined losing to Burkina Faso,” the Tunisia’94 Africa Cup of Nations winner was quoted as saying on the Nigeria Football Federation ‘s official website on Wednesday.

 

“But my midfielders played so well, my defenders and attackers let me down. Can you imagine my attackers not being able to convert about eight chances that came their way?

 

“To make matters worse, the defenders went to sleep on a day they should have been up and doing. Who told the central defenders to keep offside traps the way they did? I am totally disappointed.

 

“We can’t play like this in Senegal and expect to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. No way!

 

“We were so bad that anytime the ball beat the defenders, even my goalkeeper could not stop any of the shots fired at him. Football is a team work where errors are bound to occur, but it’s the ability of fellow team mates to cover for one another that makes a team great, that I didn’t see today (Tuesday).”

 

Siasia said he would take the search for new players outside the country to fortify the team ahead of Senegal 2015.

 

He said, “We will make corrections after the All Africa Games. I plan to travel (outside Nigeria) to talk to some players I have already penciled in. Hopefully the team should be assembling in first week of October to prepare for the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations. Certainly, some of the players I brought to Brazzaville will have to give way.”

 

Source: Punch NG