Awka – Football enthusiasts have hailed the U-23 national team for their qualification for the All Africa Games scheduled to hold in Congo Brazzaville in September but said the team should be fortified.
Nigeria secured its qualification with a 2-1 win over their hard fighting Zambian counterparts in Lusaka on Sunday.
The enthusiasts who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Monday said the team needed to be focused at it looked to winning the football event of the Games.
He noted that time had gone when Nigeria dominated African football, adding that there was need to include fresh players in the team ahead of the Games.
A sports consultant, Akonam Obiefuna, also lauded the team’s technical crew led by Samson Siasia for ensuring that the country qualified for Games.
Obiefuna urged football administrators to develop a culture where young players who performed creditably were kept together to mature into the next stage.
“It’s a good development that we qualified and there should be a structure to enable the young players to graduate from a stage to another stage.
“This is because most times you discover that after a particular competition the players fizzled out.
“Taiwo Awoniyi saved us in our last game and Siasia did well by taking him to the competition but we still need some good players.
“We cannot rely on the present players in the team, we have to infuse new blood,” he said.
Awoniyi scored a brace in the second leg of the qualifiers in Lusaka, Zambia to qualify the country for the male football event in the All-African Games.
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NAN also recalls that the female national team, Super Falcons, also qualified for the Games after defeating the Malian team 8-0 in Abuja on Friday.
The team had drawn 1-1 away to Mali and qualified on a 9-1 goal aggregate. (NAN)