NIGERIA’s Under-23 team coach Samson Siasia is under intense pressure to produce result when Nigeria tackle Mali in the group B opener of the Under-23 African Cup of Nations, Sunday at the Caroline Faye Stadium, in Mbour, Senegal.
The former Nigerian international is fighting hard not to be distracted by the kidnap of his mother, who is still unaccounted for, two weeks after she was taken in Bayelsa State. He is also wary of his team’s goal shy attitude.
“The coach is under stress following the kidnap of his mother. But he is not allowing it to dis tract him. He is rallying round the boys for a good outing on Sunday against Mali,” said team media officer Timi Ebikagboro.
He added that the boys are determined to reach the crucial stages of the tournament where an Olympic ticket is guaranteed.
“Spirit in camp is high, nobody wants to lose the first game, they see qualifying for Rio 2016 as a must.”
The team was held to a 1-1 draw by their Gambia counterparts in a friendly before they left for Senegal. Siasia is banking on Taiwo Awoniyi and Junior Ajayi to solve the goal scoring problem of the team as was witnessed at the Africa Games in Congo.