Siasia Wants Iheanacho, Awoniyi For U-23 AFCON

Siasia Wants Iheanacho, Awoniyi For U-23 AFCON

By Richard Jideaka, Abuja:

Irked by the inability of the national U-23 team to score enough goals at the just concluded All Africa Games in Congo,  oach of the team Samson Siasia has asked the Nigeria Football Federation to get him Manchester City kid sensation Kelechi Iheanacho and Liverpool FC’s Taiwo Awoniyi to beef up the team.

Siasia told Complete Sports soon after meeting with the NFF general secretary Dr Sanusi Mohammed in Abuja that he needs the two players for the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal later in the year.

He said that he would also invite players to strenghten the team to avoid the kind of showing that was witnessed in Congo, stressing that the team was not bad but that the inability to score goals cost them the gold medal at the AAG.

“In Congo, the boys did well but failed to convert the numerous chances they created,” Siasia told “My strikers failed to deliver and that was why we managed a bronze medal. If I had the likes of Iheanacho, Awoniyi and perhaps Godwin Savior in Congo, we should have done better.”

Siasia’s major hindrance however could be the availability of Iheanacho and other players based in Europe as the U-23 AFCON holds from 28 November to 12 December, in the middle of the European league season.

He added: “My fear is whether their clubs will agree to release them and that is why I have come to the NFF to liaise with respective clubs and see if they will release them. In the interim, we shall continue to work on the strikers available.” 

He revealed that the players have been given a one-week break to resume next week and start preparing for an international friendly game with Brazil in somes weeks time in London.  

Speaking further, Siasia said the aim of the team is to qualify for the Rio Olympics as African champions by winning the championship in Senegal.