By Sab Osuji:
Former Nigeria defender, Ben Iroha, has expressed satisfaction with Samson Siasia’s choice of players for the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations which kicks off in Senegal this weekend.
Iroha, who assisted Augustine Eguavoen during the ill-fated campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games, said Siasia’s decision to make home-based players the nucleus of his squad is a sign the team will excel in Senegal.
“Having as many as 18 players drawn from the domestic league in a squad of 21 players shows Siasia did his home work well,” Iroha told Completesportsnigeria.com from his base in the United States of America.
“It is a clear departure from the mistakes we made during our time when we built the team around foreign-based players which later back-fired.
“By making the home league players the nucleus of his team, Siasia has succeeded in enshrining understanding and continuity in the team and this will help them during the championship.”
The 2007 Golden Eaglets FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning assistant coach told Complete Sports that Siasia’s decision to include Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup 10-goals scorer, Victor Osimhen, in the squad as replacement for Isaac Success of Granada of Spain is a welcome decision.
“For me I think that is a good decision which I think will help in the development of the player. Bringing him into the U-23 team now that he is still fresh from his World Cup form will add more value to his career and the team.
“The U-23 AFCON will be a good learning curve for him and of course the country too,” Iroha said.
The U-23! Eagles are in Group B alongside with Mali, Egypt and Algeria. They will get their campaign underway on Sunday with their opening fixture against West African rivals, Mali.