Ahead Rio Olympic Games: Samson Siasia And Players Must Learn From Suwon Four Nations Tourney

By Augustine Akhilomen

The 2016 Suwon four nation tournament has come and gone with lots of memories and lessons to learn from it by Nigeria's U-23 team coach, Samson Siasia.

Unlike the usual must-win syndrome that have become strong habits in the country, however, the tournament has given the technical crew and the Nigeria Football Federation an idea of what to expect when the Rio Olympic Games begins in August 5.

On paper, it is believed that most football lovers would expect the team to flourish at the tournament considering some of the invited domestic and foreign players and the teams they will be contesting with at the tournament.

Nigeria's first opening match against South Korea could have been brilliant if the team had converted some of the begging chances that came their way. However, the hosts took advantage of the slightest chance that came their way to steal the maximum points at the expense of an attacking side like Nigeria.

Again, in their second match against Denmark, it was a disaster as the Danish team pummeled Nigeria 6-2 to the surprise of the technical crew. Who could have thought the team was in shape to redeem their image.

Playing against an Honduras team in their last game, the Nigeria's U-23 team gave fans some element of hope what to come in Rio Olympic Games as they won 3-1 despite going one goal down. The Nigerian U-23 team finished third at the 4 -Nation Tournament after beating Honduras 3-1 in their last game.

In essence, the team managed three points out of nine to bow out in style from the Suwon four nation tournaments with some positives and negatives to learn from the competition ahead of the Rio Olympic Games where the team will play against Sweden, Japan and Colombia.

Firstly, the technical crew under the head of Samson Siasia must carry out thorough reshuffling of the defence, of which he has conceded that it was the missing link for the team at the tournament. It is quite obvious that certain players does not have any business in the team and should be told to leave the team if the Nigeria must make appreciable impacts in Rio.

Siasia added: "The biggest problem we are having right now is that we do not defend very well; we create several chances but do not convert them. So, we need to make changes in those areas for us to move ahead from here, we have other games coming up too in America. After making those changes we will see how well the team will look going to the Olympics."

Secondly, the fitness of some of the invited players for the tournament was well exposed against Denmark and South Korea as they could not match up with the pace and strength of their opponents. This aspect falls on the desk of the fitness trainer and also Siasia who are saddled with the responsibilities of inviting players and putting them into shape for the competition.

To make, the technical crew must not send invitation to players who are not playing regularly or unused for their clubsides because they will only cause more damage to the team's dream quest at Rio.

"I don't see any plus right now, I only saw players that are not fit enough, that's the biggest problem we had. The change of weather actually affected the few ones that we trusted to play well, most of them faltered, so that's a problem, and we need to address these things in a hurry." Siasia said.

Thirdly, the team's midfield didn't cover up properly for the defence considering the fact that the likes of Mohammed Usman, Godwin Saviour, Okechukwu Azubuike, Moses Ubong Ekpai and Stanley Dimgba were practically not on top of their game. It won't be a surprise if a few of them are dropped for players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Obi and Alex Iwobi.

Besides, Samson Siasia being an experience coach tactically and technically should take responsibility of the blames and not blaming the players for his porous performance at the tournament. Motivation can only be injected into the team if he takes the blame and urge the players to be positive.

In addition, the Nigeria Football Federation must ensure they organise more grade 'A' friendly matches that would help blend and create an element of understanding in the team. Playing teams like Italy, Germany, Holland, France, Argentina, Spain etc won't be bad enough for the team ahead of Rio Olympic Games.

Comments