Coach Samson Siasia

Siasia to rest first team players against Colombia

Abuja – The Nigerian under-23 male football team have arrived in Sao Paulo ahead of Wednesday’s match at the ongoing Rio 2016 Olympics, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Dream Team VI will play their final Group B game against Colombia at the Arena dos Corinthians.

It is a formality game as they have already qualified for the quarter-finals of the Olympics football event after beating Asian champions Japan 5-4 and Europe’s best Sweden 1-0 in Manaus.

These were in the team’s first and second Group B matches.

However, a statement issued by Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Assistant Director of Communications, indicated that the team were going to take things easy against the Colombians.

It quoted the team’s Head Coach, Samson Siasia, as saying he would rest some of the players in his starting line-up.

“I have to take this decision because we have qualified for the quarter-finals as group leaders.

“Secondly, I need to rest some of the starters because in the next phase there is a possibility of going into extra time.

“For now, the boys have done well and I need to make the other players justify why I selected them for this tournament.

“This is not a tea party. So, everyone must stand up to be counted, and the only way they can be counted is if they play well against Colombia.

“Resting some starters does not mean we are underrating the opposition,” the statement quoted Siasia as saying.

It also quoted Siasia as saying the team’s technical crew was working hard on the defence line, as the knock-out stage would see “stingy defence-lines complemented by vicious attacking lines’’.

The statement revealed that Dream Team VI would for the first time in the tournament wear white jerseys in the game against Colombia.

It added that the players have already been handed two pairs of white jerseys each, as had been the practice since the commencement of the tournament.

“Each player is given two pairs of jerseys for each game, so that he can put on a fresh one when coming out for the second half in each game.’’

Team forward Sadiq Umar scored once while midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo netted four times as Nigeria secured the maximum three points from Japan.

Umar also scored the only goal of the match as European champions Sweden were defeated 1-0 in Manaus on Sunday.

Colombia, who drew 2-2 with Sweden and also with Japan, know they have no choice but to win against Nigeria to reach the last eight.(NAN)

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