Former Flying Eagles star, Taiwo Awoniyi has revealed his desire and those of his team-mates to earn the right to represent Africa in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as they campaign for honours at the CAF Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations beginning this weekend in Dakar, Senegal.
Awoniyi, scored twice against Zambia to put Nigeria into the tournament during the qualifiers and as he joined the team from his base in Germany on Monday, he stated that Nigeria have the players to win the tournament
and it was a matter of working hard to achieve their set objectives.
“It is all about hard work and it is work time. Qualifying for the Rio Olympics is non-negotiable as we have no excuse to give Nigerians, that’s why we have to put in our best to get something out of Senegal,” said Awoniyi who stars for FSV Frankfurt.
Coach Samson Siasia stated that he is banking on Awoniyi and Junior Ajayi to answer the team’s goal scoring problems.
“We are expecting the invited foreign based strikers like Awoniyi and Junior Ajayi who have been with the team for some time before they turned professionals to use their newly garnered experience to help the team score goals in the competition.
“We are targeting winning the competition or better still pick one of the qualification tickets for the 2016 Olympic Games.”
The team is expected to leave for Dakar by 11.00pm this morning. They will play their first match against Mali on Sunday. Egypt and Algeria are the other teams in group B of the tournament. The first three finishers automatically qualifies for the Olympics, while the fourth will go for a play off.