The Head Coach of the U-23 National Team, Samson Siasia has apologised to Nigerians over the 3-1 defeat of the team by Burkina Faso in the semi-final match of the 11th Africa Games football tournament in Brazzaville. A statement on Nigeria Football Federation website said Siasia blamed the loss on his boys’ profligacy in front of goal and the defenders’ failure in their duties.
Siasia said he was sorry for not qualifying for the All-Africa Games men’s football final match to bring home the gold medal to Nigeria. “I am not a man of excuses. I take all the blame for this collapse and will certainly make amends before the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations,“ he said.
Siasia said that in his wildest imagination, he did not for once believe the team would lose to Burkina Faso, let alone by such a wide margin. “I never imagined losing to Burkina Faso but then 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 were asleep on a day they should have been up and doing. “Who told the central defenders to keep offside trap the way they did?
“I am totally disappointed; we can’t play like this in Senegal and expect to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. “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.”
Siasia said that he had learnt his lessons in the AAG and would look for foreign players to reinforce the team for U-23 African Championship in Senegal. .
“ We will make corrections after the All-Africa Games. I plan to travel to talk to some players I have already pencilled down. “The team should be assembling in the first week of October to prepare for the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations. “Certainly, some of the players I brought to Congo Brazzaville will have to give way,” he said.
Nigeria is grouped with Algeria, Egypt and Mali in Group B at the African U-23 Championship in Dakar and M’Bour, Senegal The championship’s top three teams are expected to fly Africa’s flag at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 11th All-Africa Games which began on Sept. 4 is expected to end on Saturday.