By Hillary Ochiabuto
My dear Coach Samson Yebowei Siasia, let me welcome you on board as the head coach of Nigeria’s National under-23 football team. Of all the coaches that have managed different categories of our national teams, perhaps you are the closest to the Nigerian soccer-crazy fans and the one who gives a listening ear the most to suggestions, tips, recommendations, advises e.t.c from other coaches, ex-internationals, football fans and other stakeholders in the round leather game in the country. When it comes to grassroots and youth football, most of us rate you above other equally knowledgeable coaches like Fanny Amun, Manu Garba, Sebastian Brodericks-Imasuen and many others because you played the game yourself up to the highest level featuring at the FIFA World Cup and playing for top clubs in Europe before becoming a coach.
“Eusebio” as you settle down to do what you know best, please kindly permit me to suggest some Nigerian players who are still within the stipulated age limit that may be of immense importance to your campaign at the 2015 All Africa Games and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers and tournaments.
“Siaone” the following players were born on or after 1st January 1993 and are therefore still eligible to play for the new Dream Team of Nigeria. Michael Olaitan (Olympiakos, Greece), Abduljaleel Ajagun (Panathnaikos, Greece), Alhaji Gero (Osters IF, Sweden), Umar Aminu (Samsunspor,Turkey), Mikel Agu(FC Porto, Portugal), Theophilus Solomon (NK Zadar,Croatia), Moses Simon (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Ebere Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjylland, Denmark) Semi Ajayi (Arsenal, England), Elohor
Godswill Ekpolo (FC Barcelona, Spain), Uche Ikpeazu (Watford
FC,England), Henry Uche Agbo (Grenada CF, Spain), Olanrewaju
Kayode (Maccabi Netanya, Israel), Chidi Osuchukwu (Sporting
Braga, Portugal), Imoh Fred Friday (Lilestrom SK, Norway), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, England), Edafe Egbedi (Aarhus GF, Denmark), Imoh Ezekiel (Al Arabi, Qatar), Aaron Samuel Olanare (Guangzhou R&F, China), Kenneth Ngwoke (Yenicami Aaydelen SK,Cyprus), Musefiu
Ashiru (FC Midtjylland, Denmark), Jamilu Collins, Okechukwu Aliyu, Goodness Ajayi and Chibueze Diyoke (all HNK Rijeka, Croatia), Anthony Bassey (AS Eupen, Belgium). The likes of Dele Alampasu, Kelechi Iheanacho, Success Isaac, Chidiebere Nwakali, Chidera Ezeh, Musa Yahaya, Musa Muhammed and other members of the UAE 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup victorious Eaglets should be left out from the Dream Team for now to enable them concentrate on the Flying Eagles campaigns in Senegal and New Zealand next year.
I believe you already know these players and what they could offer your team. I wish you the best of luck in your newest national assignment. I am your die-hard fan and unflinching supporter.
•Hillary Ogechi Ochiabuto, resides in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria.