Former Super Eagles player and coach, Samson Siasia, has weighed in on Nigeria's chances at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d'Ivoire, highlighting the crucial role of teamwork and the necessity for time in building a winning team.
Siasia commended the current Super Eagles' squad for its individual talent but stressed the urgency of fostering better cohesiveness to maximize success on both the continental and global stages.
Samson Siasia emphasizes teamwork and time as key elements for Super Eagles' AFCON success
“The (Super Eagles) team has good players, but they have to play as a team. If they start playing as a team, then we might have a chance to do whatever. But time is not our friend. The time is short,” remarked Siasia, emphasizing the need for quick and effective collaboration among the players.
He expressed optimism about the team's potential success, stating, “If they can up their game, we never know. But we've got to get the right players. And let's see.”
“We're not going to say they can win it or not. They can win it all. But let's see how they improve from now on, moving forward.”
“That will give us the kind of idea if they can win it. It depends on how they play in the next game. But now they are there. Everybody (other teams) is afraid. But they need to build their confidence back,” he added.
Building a legacy: Siasia draws parallels with the '90s Super Eagles, edmphasizing the value of time in team building
Siasia drew parallels with the famed Super Eagles team of the '90s, which he was a part of, highlighting the importance of time and continuity in building a formidable squad.
“The team that won the AFCON in 1994 actually played in 1992 Nations Cup. We were there since the 90s and it took us almost a year to put up a team like that that can compete.”
“I mean, we won the Nations Cup and we can compete like that in the world. So, it took some time, years, to put up that team; a team that was very strong and won the Nations Cup,” he explained.
Siasia emphasized that the bonding and years of playing together were key factors in their success.
“We need time to build a team. And we don’t have that time because time is gone. In another 10 years’ time, we should be looking at trying to win the World Cup, not just the Africa Nations Cup. So, we have to start building now.”
Looking ahead, The former player urged the current coaching staff to pay attention to rising talents, singling out Napoli's Victor Osimhen, Bayer Leverkusen's Victor Boniface, and Real Sociedad's Umar Sadiq as players to watch.
He highlighted the need for confidence and opportunities for players like Umar Sadiq, who he believes can make a significant impact on the team.
“Sadiq is very good. They need to give him a chance and give him the kind of confidence he needs. Then he’s going to surprise. We see him playing in his club and he’s doing very well. He can actually do the same thing here (with the Eagles team),” he concluded.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago