Siasia rues defensive frailties as U23 face Denmark

Samson Siasia
Samson Siasia

Following the Nigeria U23 team’s 0-2 loss to Colombia in their final Group B game at the Men’s Olympics Football Tournament Rio 2016, Samson Siasia has said he will concentrate on building a solid defence –line as the African champions get set to tackle Group A runners –up Denmark in the quarter finals on Saturday.

Speaking at the post match conference on Wednesday, Siasia said: “Of course when you make too many changes, it won’t work the way you expected. Going into the knock –out stage, that’s a different ball game. If you lose, you go home, so all those mistakes we have been making mostly in the backline have to be corrected. We didn’t do a good job on the Colombian forwards. We really have to work harder on our defending.

“In the first half, we had a couple of good chances and Etebo had a very good one that he should have scored. But one good thing about him is that he always put himself in good positions. He didn’t score today; that’s football. Hopefully, in the next game, we can convert our chances and defend better.”

On his assessment of the Colombia squad, Siasia stated: “Colombia has always been a good team, in spite of the challenges they faced before coming to the Olympics. All the teams at this tournament are good; you just have to take your chances when you have them. The Colombians took their chances against us and are now in the quarter –finals.”

On the injury to Oghenekaro Etebo, Siasia said he would have to wait for the verdict of the medical crew. On his part, Captain Mikel John Obi said the team did not take the game lightly. “That’s football. We are professionals and could not have under –rated the Colombians. We will work harder ahead of our next game.”

The Nigeria U23 delegation departed Sao Paulo on Thursday morning for Salvador, where the team confronts Denmark at the Arena Fonte Nova on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, the National Technical Director, Mr. Bitrus Bewarang has arrived in Brazil to join the U23 team as they march on in the quest for Olympic gold.

Former Super Eagles’ assistant coach Bewarang left Lagos on Wednesday night, aboard a South African Airways flight, and then connected Sao Paulo from Johannesburg. He was due to be at the team’s camp in Salvador by Thursday evening.


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