As preparation for the men’s football tournament of the Rio Olympic Games hots up, Head Coach of the Nigeria U-23, Samson Siasia has declared that from Monday 9th May, he will no longer release any player from camp to play for their clubs during Nigeria Professional Football League mid –week matches.
Speaking after Tuesday’s training at the practice pitch of the National Stadium, Abuja, coach Siasia noted that he barely had enough players in camp to start real preparations for the Olympics, which is barely three months away.
“I must confess that it has not been easy for me and my technical crew; a lot of the players we need to work with won’t report to camp as at when due because their club chairmen will always call me to beg that these players stay back to play mid –week games. I understand their plight that they need these players to do well in the League, but then we must draw a line between national interest and club interest. I have always built the foundation of my team on the home based players, so it is players I have at my disposal that I will work and plan with.
“So, I am appealing to all involved to please bear with us, because from next week, I will not release any player for mid –week games. If the clubs cannot release these players, then I am sorry, no matter how good these players are, they cannot be part of my plans.”
Coach Siasia said his call for understanding, is coming on the heels of the fact that he is preparing the team for the South Korea Invitational Tournament coming up early June, and he needs to pick players who will do the nation proud and get them in the mood for the games. “From the information at my disposal, we are supposed to be traveling on 29th May, to Seoul. It means we have barely two weeks to prepare adequately for that competition that will have in attendance other teams that would be going to the Olympics.”
Siasia disclosed that he will soon release the names of foreign based professionals expected to be part of the preparation, saying he has delayed announcing their names because he has not been able to get assurances from their clubs on their release for the Games.