Lawal To Siasia: Overhaul U-23 Team For Olympics | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lawal To Siasia: Overhaul U-23 Team For Olympics

Posted: Dec 24, 2015 at 6:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ex-international, Garba Lawal, has advised national U-23 team coach, Samson Siasia, to consider overhauling his squad ahead of Rio 2016 Olympics. The former Super Eagles midfielder said although the team won the CAF U-23 Nations Cup and qualified for the games, the squad was not strong enough to compete in a tournament like the Olympics.

He congratulated Siasia for making it to the Olympics with the squad but urged the coach to effect a big change to his playing personnel if Nigeria is to go far in Brazil next year. “I am happy for the team for qualifying for the Olympics, it was not an easy thing to do and we have to salute the players and the coaching crew for getting the job done in Senegal.

I also want to agree with the coach that the team did not deserve to win the tournament; they had some luck,” Lawal, who captained Nigeria to the Athens 2000 Olympics, said. “The coach admitted his team was not strong enough and I am certain he is going to do something about it before Rio 2016.

Olympics is a different ball game, it is a different level of competition compared to the qualifying tournament, it is where some of the best players in the world showcase their talent. So, I expect the coach to overhaul his team, something big needs to be done about that squad. “We have good players across the world within that age bracket that could be useful to Siasia; he just has to work harder now.

I am not saying he should put together a team with only foreign-based players, we have quality players in the local league who can still prove themselves, but what I think he needs are players with quality to compete with the best.” Some Super Eagles players including Captain Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo have been touted as the overage players expected to make the team, but Lawal said the coach should carefully consider what he needs before taking decision on who fill the three slots. “Siasia is in charge, he should be the one to decide who makes the team, not me, not even the media. He knows what he needs, it is a technical issue and I believe he is going to do the right thing,” Lawal added.