The Chief Coach of the national U-23 team, Samson Siasia, has defended his invitation of Flying Eagles goalkeeper, Dele Alampasu, to the Dream Team VI in preparation for an All Africa Games Qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville.
Siasia, who was forced to respond after critics faulted the goalie’s call-up because he is club-less at the moment, told SportingLife in Abuja, yesterday, that he had faith in Alampasu’s ability.
The Olympics silver medal-winning coach said Alampasu has had the quality of a good goalkeeper right from when he helped the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He observed that it was this quality that won the goalie a place in the Flying Eagles team that campaigned in the last FIFA U- 20 World Cup in New Zealand.
“Let me be very honest as regards the issue of Dele Alampasu,” Siasia began. “I invited him based on what I have seen as regards his goalkeeping qualities. These qualities Aloy Agu our goalkeeping coach has also attested to.
“The issue of not having a club or Dele (Alampasu) not playing for a team now does not really matter to me. So far as he can prove himself in the training exercises we are doing and he is at the level we require, he will always be a part of the team.
“I don’t know this guy (Alampasu) from anywhere other than watching him play at the 2013 FIFA U- 17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. After this he was also in Manu Garba’s team to the New Zealand FIFA U- 20 World Cup.”
He continued: “The question I want to ask you guys is that, was he playing for a club side when he made the U- 20 squad for the World Cup? That is to show that Dele Alampasu has that quality in him that the coaches have seen to make the age-grade national teams. I should be seen not to kill his spirit but to encourage him. So I need to give him a chance to fight for a shirt in the team like I have given to others and will still give.
“So, it is important for me to help him complete the circle and also give him the opportunity to fight for shirts in the team. If Dele makes the regular squad, then it’s fine, if not somebody else will play in that position. Anybody that is close to me knows that when it comes to the national team’s selection of players I pick the players that will help me actualise my ambition and target for the team. No family affairs, no friendship in national team business, it’s strictly the best players that would make the squad and play”, Siasia explained.
Siasia recently called to camp eight players from the squad that participated in the finals of the last FIFA U- 20 World Cup to join the Dream Team VI that is preparing for battle against Congo in the qualification series for the 2016 Olympics Football Tournament. The players include: Kelechi Iheanacho, Musa Yahaya, Moses Simon, Musa Muhammed, Dele Alampasu, Taiwo Awoniyi, Kingsley Sokari and Saviour Godwin.