Amaju Pinnick, President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has commended players and officials of the Under-23 National Team, Dream Team VI, for winning the just concluded Under-23 championship in Senegal.
The Dream Team VI defeated Algeria 2-1 in the final match played at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar on Saturday night to win the tournament.
South Africa defeated host Senegal 3-1 on penalties to win the third place match after both teams ended the encounter goalless at regulation time.
Pinnick, in a statement posted on the federation’s website, said he was delighted to see the Nigerian team lift the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Dakar, Senegal.
“This is another reason to celebrate; we are delighted.
“But we give a lot of credit to the players and the officials, led by Coach Samson Siasia, because they showed exceptional perseverance and unyielding spirit to do the nation proud.
“The NFF has a special praise for Coach Siasia; he was strong mentally and never lost focus, even in the face of odds. He deserves every encomium,’’ Pinnick was quoted as saying.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this triumph is the fourth major trophy in the 14-month life of the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF.
The titles are the Super Falcons’ 2014 African Women Championship and the Flying Eagles’ Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations win in Senegal earlier in the year.
The third triumph is the Golden Eaglets’ successful retention of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile in November.
The Dream Team secured a place in the men’s football tournament of the 2016 Olympics when Nigeria defeated host Senegal in Wednesday’s semi-final encounter through Oghenekaro Etebo’s penalty kick.
Etebo set the Dream Team on the way to victory in the final match when he sent the Algerian goalkeeper the wrong way to net the team’s first goal from the spot in the 14th minute of the encounter.
The forward himself had been fouled by two Algerian defenders before the penalty.
Algeria drew level in a most bizarre manner when a Dream Team defender, Segun Oduduwa, headed past his own goalkeeper and into the net from a delicate pullout by an Algerian forward in the 31st minute.
Etebo netted his second goal in the encounter after he ran past a group of Algerian defenders to fire low into the net past the Algerian goalkeeper.
Nigeria goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel saved his second penalty in the tournament in the 69th minute to stop Algeria’s danger-man Ferhat, after Oduduwa, who was unimpressive in the game, fouled an Algerian striker in the box.
Daniel had saved a penalty in the semi-final encounter with Senegal on Wednesday.
NFF’s 1st Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi who led the delegation when the Under-20 male team won the Africa U-20 Championship in Senegal, was among the dignitaries at the final.