NFF President Amaju Pinnick has charged players of the Nigeria U-23 squad to fire from all cylinders when they clash with hosts Senegal in the first semi-final of the 2nd Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Dakar on Wednesday.
The match kicks off at 4pm Nigerian time on Wednesday.
Coach Samson Siasia believes his boys improved in their last game against Algeria by not conceding a goal, but Pinnick wants the players to show no mercy when launching onslaughts and do everything to keep the defence tight against the rampaging Senegalese.
Both teams clashed at the men’s football event of the 11th All-Africa Games in Brazzaville in September, with Nigeria scoring a last-minute goal to tie the match 1-1.
“It is not going to be easy playing against the host nation that is high on confidence, having won all their three group phase matches. Extra effort will be needed in all departments; hardwork and courage are critical virtues that the U-23 boys must take to heart on Wednesday,” Pinnick said.
“Our country is on a run of excellent results in international competitions. We are determined that run must continue and that is why the U-23 boys must defeat Senegal to assure of a place in Rio de Janeiro next year.”
Nigeria, 1996 gold medallists and 2008 silver medallists, missed the 2012 Olympics as coach Austin Eguavoen’s class of 2011 lost out at the inaugural Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Morocco.