NAN – Coach Samson Siasia has called up 39 players to open a screening camp in Abuja, with another set of 39 and a final set of 38 to follow in batches.
In a statement in Abuja on Friday by Ademola Olajire, the Assistant Director, Communications, Nigeria Football Association (NFA), the screening camp would open on Sunday.
Siasia, a former Super Eagles’ captain and coach, has the assignment to raise a new national under-23 men’s squad.
The squad is expected to qualify Nigeria for the Men’s Football Tournament of the 11th All-Africa Games holding in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in July 2015.
It is also to qualify for the CAF U-23 Championship taking place in DR Congo from Dec. 5 to Dec. 19, 2015.
Success at the DR Congo event will qualify Nigeria for the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
But its first hurdle is an All-Africa Games qualifying fixture against Gabon, with the first leg away in Libreville in February, and the return leg in Nigeria early March.
The winners of that fixture will take on the winners of the fixture between Zambia and Madagascar in late March.
The team will then take on the winners among Ghana, Liberia and Congo in the qualifying race for the CAF U-23 Championship in July.
Nigeria has an averagely rich record at the under-23 men level, winning the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, U.S. in 1996.
It faltered at the 2000 Games in Sydney, where it had an average performance, and failed to qualify for the Athens 2004 Games.
The team however won silver medal in Beijing in 2008 and failed to qualify for the London Games in 2012.
Speaking on the building process of the new team, Siasia said each batch of invited players would spend only three days in camp before the other.
“The selected ones among the lot will convene for a proper camp late in December,’’ he was quoted as saying by the statement.
The statement added that all the called up players are to report at the FIFA Technical Centre in Abuja.
It said the first batch of 39 players, comprising two goalkeepers, eight defenders, nine midfielders, nine forwards and 11 others, would be screened from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25.
The second batch, which will train from Nov. 26 to Nov. 28, has three goalkeepers, eight defenders, seven midfielders, seven forwards and 14 others.
The statement also said the third batch of invited players will be screened from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, comprising three goalkeepers, nine defenders, nine midfielders, nine forwards and eight others.