Coach Samson Siasia was full of praise for the Flying Eagles after watching his Olympic team succumb to the brilliance of the Emmanuel Amuneke – tutored side in a test match decided Saturday morning inside the mainbowl of the National Stadium, Abuja.
Spectators who witnessed the match also showered praises on the youthful but enterprising Flying Eagles who gave all present something to savour with their close marking, fast counter attacking play, neat dribbles and brilliant goals.
Siasia started with a very formidable side in his attempt to bury the ghost of a previous defeat in the hands of the same opponents just before his team departed for Korea to participate in the 4 –Nation Suwon Invitational Tournament. The combination of Oghenekaro Etebo and Usman Mohammed created early jitters in the Flying Eagles defence but poor marksmanship from the attack spearheaded by Taiwo Awoniyi and Saviour Godwin denied them an early lead. The Flying Eagles however relied on counter attacks and opened the scoring in the 10th minute with one of such fast breaks as Samuel Chukwueze found Orji Okonkwo in space and the striker let go a grounder that found the net.
That lead lasted for 15 minutes before the U23 boys equalised through winger Saviour Godwin. The Flying Eagles soon made it 2-1 and later 3-1 as two quick goals, from Orji Okonkwo again and then Samuel Chukwueze took the game beyond the reach of their senior opponents. Etebo however forced his way through a parked defence to drive home a ferocious shot just from the edge of the box to reduce the tally, but Victor Osimhen flew onto a well placed cross from man of the match Orji Okonkwo to make it 4-2 and send the fans into jubilation.
Defender Abdullahi Shehu smuggled in a rebound with barely two minutes to full time to make it end in a fairly respectable way for the Olympic team.
NFF 1st Vice President, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi said the match has given him assurances that the future of Nigeria football is indeed very bright. NFF 2nd Vice President, Shehu Dikko, specifically praised the Flying Eagles for their display and admonished the coaches to keep up the good work to ensure Nigeria beat Sudan and qualify for the AFCON U20 Nations Cup holding in Zambia.
Also present at the venue were NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, Deputy General Secretary Emmanuel Ikpeme, NFF assistant technical director Siji Lagunju and former NNL chairman Emeka Inyama, among other leading stakeholders of the game.
Samson Siasia admitted afterwards that the better team won and stressed further that he still has a lot of work to do if Nigeria must excel at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Coach Amuneke as usual, was modest in victory, saying there is still a lot of work to be done. The Flying Eagles earlier this week, defeated Okagbue FC from Anambra State 2-1 and thrashed Lion Stars of Suleja 4-0 in test matches ahead of their July 8 AFCON U-20 qualifier with Sudan in Khartoum.