Head coach of the Nigeria U-23 national team, Samson Siasia, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to advice Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) sides to release players for preparation for the All-Africa Games in Congo Brazaville slated for between 3–18 September .
The coach, who had only eight of the invited players available for training at the Fifa Goal Project in Abuja on Tuesday, described players’ late arrival as “unfair.”
According to the tactician, others have notified the team that they have yet to be released by their respective clubs, with Match Day 24 fixtures of the Glo Premier League set to continue on Wednesday and Thursday.
“How can I prepare well for a competition as important as the All Africa Games when clubs in the local scene have refused to release their players for the camping exercise? We have barely two weeks to our first game and up till now I have only 8 players to work with,” Siasia is quoted as saying on thenff.com.
“Most of the club managers called to appeal that we allow their players play last weekend games, a request I approved, with an appeal to them that they should release the players on Monday. This is Tuesday and I still have not seen the players as most of them have called to say their clubs are holding on to them for mid-week games. This is not fair.”
Some of the invited players, who had earlier arrived the Dream Team Camp, are understood to have left for the Super Eagles camp, having being called up for duty at both Under-23 and senior level in the same period.
And while some few others have traveled out of the country to sign for foreign teams, Siasia says the development is holding back his efforts to have his squad list ready in time for the start of the All-Africa games.
The eight players available at Tuesday training include, Segun Oduduwa, Sincere Seth, Ikechukwu Okorie, Oliseh Ndah, Etebong Elisha, Oladapo Augustine, Mohammed Yusuf and Abiodun Akande trained, while Tonbara Tiongoli, Semiu Laidi and Ndifreke Effiong sat out due to various injury concerns.
Meanwhile, Siasia has invited three more players to beef up the team. The invited players are Stephen Eze (Sunshine Stars), Lawal Shittu (Giwa FC) and Christian Pyagbara (Sharks FC).
All invited players are now expected to report to camp by Thursday after their mid week games.