By Richard Jideaka, Abuja:
The hope of Samson Siasia using this year's Toulon football tournament to prepare the country's Under-23 team for the Rio Olympic Games in Braziln has been dashed as the Nigeria Football Federation have withdrawn from the yearly tournament in France.
Official sources told Completesportnigeria.com that the organizers of the tournament that attracts age-grade teams from top playing football nations have been notified that Nigeria will not be participating in the competition scheduled for May 19 to May 28.
Siasia had hoped to use the tournament to screen and test the 60 players he listed for camping and preparation but with the withdrawal, he has to look elsewhere to prepare for the Rio Olympics billed for August this year.
"I don't think our national Under-23 team will be participating in the Toulon tournament as earlier planned because of obvious reason of lack of funds," chairman of NFF Technical and Development committee Chris Green told Completesportsnigeria.com. "We wanted the U-23s to play the tournament which will also see some other Olympic Games bound teams in action but circumstances denied us.
"We shall look for quality friendly games for the team and hopefully there will be funds then to prepare the team. The target is an Olympic gold medal and the NFF will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the boys deliver in Rio." Green stated