By Obiweluozo Martins
Samson Yeboah Siasia will be leading the Dream Team VI out in Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil with another opportunity to make amends and silence questions as regards his coaching credentials which have been promising over the years without the desired or adequate result.
The Coach will have an opportunity to mark his name in Nigerian football diaries as one of the coaches who have delivered successes (especially on the world stage) where Manu Garba and late duo of Yemi Tella and Stephen Keshi somewhat thrived.
With the Super Eagles yet to get a Coach couple with countless deliberations, it will be nice for Samson Siasia to seize this opportunity to produce a great side for Nigerians to reckon in the coming days. Here are the needful stuff Siasia must do to stand chance of actualizing that.
TAKE THE RIGHT ELEVEN
The starting lines up of eleven players are key to what a team can achieve in a tournament when they are rightly selected as regards to the playing personnel in the squad. Most times it is not about the quality of the players chosen but the ability of the chosen players to find their rhythm and complement each other in a definite system.
Just like in defence line you need a harsh and calm defensive duo to form a greater partnership in defence as the harsh is the ball tackler (may be rough) while the calm is the match reader which studies the game and moderates in the defence line to enables division of labour to be efficient and purposeful in a context.
Siasia must identify a playing bunch of 11 players who can complement each other on the field of play with the remnant of a suitable bench of which adequate substitution can be made from. The players in a certain line up must be able to balance each other tactically depending on the system in vogue.
MIKEL AS AN ATTACKING MIDFIELDER
The Chelsea Veteran John Obi Mikel (29) position have always raised eyebrows and questions from many lips as regards the best place to deploy the Super Eagles Captain who would be featuring at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil after missing the tournament in Beijing 2008 with his 2005 U-20 set.
In true definition a player who have from Okocha turned Makalele over the years showed the varying range of position in which the player have operated for Nigeria and at club level at Chelsea. Now where does Mikel fit in? For sure the midfield player will be good offensive as shown in the AFCON where you have Fegor Ogude and later Ogenyi Onazi doing the dirty job allowing the playmaker the room to exercise his passing rang in midfield.
At the Confederations Cup he was magnificent in midfield outshining top class players like the Xavi and Iniesta of this world as he was giving a free position to operate in midfield. Mikel has a tendency of avoiding responsibility at the base of the midfield (DMF) by just passing the ball to his nearest man but the attacking prospects suits him to exercise his silky moves and audacious vision bearing in mind the presence of talented and youthful tackler in Azubuike Okechukwu who is ever ready to close down opposition in the Nigerian half.
ENSURE DEFENSIVE STABILITY
Samson Siasia teams are notably known for their flamboyant and fluid flowing style of play which catches the eye and endear Nigerian fans who are always interested in Nigeria dominating game and win with so much flair which is good and fine me but the attacking brand of football that the gaffer have traded over the years which supports a 4-2-4 with two midfielders and four attacking players in transition must not contradict the fact that the team need to defend well when not in possessions.
The Coach must find a system which encourages a change in formation in the course of a game in order for the team to maintain their shape while defending. Samson Siasia’s team must form a cohesive unit while defending as the opponent might lunge a quick break against the Nigerian defence. The attacking style of play must not inhibit a defensive orientation as that may be the key going far in the tournament.
ONE GAME APPROACH
The Nigerian teams over the years have been guilty of failing to adopt a one game approach going into a Championship. This is widely due to the win by all means syndrome attached to game with “bring back the trophy” mantra even when the ball have not yet been kicked.
This in turn generate unnecessary pressure and high expectation which the player and the technical crew of the team (coach and his assistant) finds it difficult to deal with by virtue of the invading media. This have led to lack of focus on an immediate opponent and an underrating mindset which have proved more costly than ever.
We all recall how the 1998 talented squad with the Okocha’s, Ikpeba, Adepoju, Yekini and Amokachi with such approach faltered against Denmark in a 4-1 bashing of our team when all mind where glued on how the Brazil vs. Nigeria meeting in the quarter final will be, which never happened as it was a case of preparing for a war never fought. Siasia must maintain one game at a time if the team must reach its destination (Possibly Olympic Gold).
WIN OPENING GAME
The Dream Team VI have been drawn with three teams from different continent in Group B as Nigeria will face Japan (Asia), Sweden (Europe) and Colombia (South America) who have been pitched against the Dream Team VI at the Rio Olympics.
The U-23 side must stand firm in if the Olympic hopes are to be kept alive. The Samson Siasia U-23 side must earn the three points to enable Nigeria a breeze of fresh air in the tournament. There is an adequate need for all hands to be on deck to ensure that Nigeria kick off the Olympic football event with a win against Japan as more task likes ahead in Sweden and Colombia who will be missing the services of talismanic player maker James Rodriguez who was omitted from the team as an over-age player from the squad announced.
Samson Siasia must enlighten his boys and map out adequate plans to nail Japan in the opener so as to set the tone for qualification to the next round as Nigerians will not be entertaining any form of excuse from the team as a whole.