National Under 23 media officer Sharif Abdallah says the Dream team VII is very excited to have more foreign players join ahead of the African Cup of Nations U23 Tournament in Egypt as this is a sign of Commitment and passion for Nigeria.
“For the very first time we are expecting a lot of foreign based players. To me it is a sign of Commitment, you know during the qualifiers we had a lot of them which made us qualify to the AFCON U-23 which will serve as qualifiers to the Olympics.”
Speaking exclusively to sportaccess.com.ng on the preparation so far, Abdallah said the team is preparing well for the tournament considering the Falcons failed to qualify, the Dream team VII will hope to bring smile on the faces of Nigerians.
“We have been preparing very well, the coaches are working as a unit to make sure they get the best out of these players.
You know the maiden edition in 2011 and 2015 we were unable to get the best in from our foreign based players but for the first time the foreign based players want to get involved in the tournament, that shows dedication, love and passion.”
Meanwhile, the U23 Eagles played out a goaless draw against NNL side Niger Tornadoes and will also take on Nasarawa United in Abuja on Wednesday; as coach Imama is expected to release his final 23 man squad to the afcon Olympics qualifiers.
He however disagreed that NPFL clubs will have issues in releasing players as this is a plus to clubs in the country to have players represent the National team.
“I doubt when it comes to the National assignment the country supercedes every other thing, this is a national assignment, we have never had a row or disagreement between clubs and national team, infact most clubs are proud to have players play for the national team.”
The team is billed to leave for Egypt this weekend ahead of the tournament that will kick start on the 8th of November.”
Abdallah also called on support from Nigerians to support the team as they hope to defend the title they won in Dakar Senegal 2015.
“For every disappointment you try to get the best out of it, we fail to qualify for CHAN 2020 in Cameroon which is a big disappointment but we should not forget the National U23 team is here to stay, we are the only national team embarking to make Nigeria proud next year because the Super Falcons failed to qualify for the Olympics so i urge Nigerians to rally their support behind this team as the ultimate target is to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and then go on and win the AFCON U23 remember we are the defending champions.”
Nigeria are in same group with Ivory Coast, Zambia, and South Africa and will play their first match against Ivory Coast on the 9th of November 2019.
The top three teams will represent Africa at the Tokoyo 2020 Olympic Games.