2016 Olympics: Ighalo, Iheaneacho In..Mikel, Not Likely
Nigeria’s U-23 Olympics football team coach, Samson Siasia, has tipped Odion Ighalo as one of the over-aged players for the Rio 2016 Olympics Games in Brazil.
Siasia revealed that he is not sure of the chances of John Obi Mikel, making his team as he revealed that he has many other over-aged players in his mind outside the Chelsea midfielder.
The former Super Eagles coach also disclosed that the team would be playing a two-legged friendly with the U-23 team of Brazil in March. According to him, the friendly matches would offer him the opportunity to try the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Dele Ojo as well as many other foreign-based players he had penciled down to begin his camp with.
“We have this game in Brazil that is set up already; we cannot afford to miss it. We need to send invitation to players, go for visas and other things. I came over to explain and let them know that it will be very unfortunate if we miss this opportunity in Brazil because it comes within the FIFA window. We may not be able to try the players we would want to use if we miss the Brazil opportunity. But the NFF secretary has promised that he would get back to me before the end of the day so that we would know where to begin. I hope we will start preparing for the Brazil invitational before the end of this week.
“We do not have any time to waste because we need to see these players on time and secure their assurances for the Olympics. We also need to tidy up things with their clubs on time to make sure that come August, they would be available to play for us. I have pleaded with the NFF to facilitate these things because if we miss them in these FIFA windows, it will be very difficult for us to have them released for the Olympic Games.
“We are billed to play two games against the Brazil U-23 team. They are the ones inviting us; we are not going to pay anything. We play on the 24th and 28th of April which all falls on the FIFA windows
“I also want to start on time with the home-based players so that we can have a sound back-up in case we fail to secure the release of some of our targeted foreign-based players. This is because with the way we are going, we are not sure their clubs will release them for us.
“I want to try the likes of Alex Iwobi, if he can come; also Iheanacho and Ojo if they are available. I have some over-aged players I am thinking about, but from now till August is still long, we can still see more players that would be in form during that period. That is why I am right now concentrating on the main team because they would be the bulk of my Olympics team.
“I have not heard anything from Mikel and I have not thought about him, if he calls me and tells me he wants to play, I will ask him for what reason, why do you want to play?. I do not want to talk about Mikel. He is doing well, I am happy for him.
Of course, I am seriously monitoring Ighalo, it is obvious because he is the only Super Eagles player that is playing in the premiership and scoring a lot of goals. Everybody is looking at him, he is a good boy, very gentle and discipline. We pray that he would remain in good shape by August because we need people who will score for us as he is doing right now with his club”.