Former Super Eagles striker and two-time manager, Samson Yebowei Siasia has urged members of the senior national team to stay focused ahead of Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifier against Zambia.
In a chat to www.aclsports.com, the former Eagles coach also stressed the need for Nigerians not to panic, stating that adherence to coaches instructions will be key to Nigeria’s success.
“We all know that this game is very important and the boys know it too,” began the 1994 World Cup star.
“There’s not much to say about it than to get focused and I think they have a lot of confidence going into the game so they just have to play to instructions and the tactics and what the coach is going to tell them and all,” advised Siasia.
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The Super Eagles are three points clear of Saturday’s opponents Zambia in Group B of qualifying and need an outright victory over the Chipolopolo.
“The Zambians have nothing to lose and they’ll be coming all out to do everything they can to win the game but we can always strike them whenever we like,” posited Siasia, twice medallist at 2008 and 2016 Olympics
With the Eagles expecting a capacity crowd at the 30,000 Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Saturday, Siasia knows the Nigerian fans truly well and warns the Eagles must be smart.
“They don’t have to panic, they just have to play very very smart. Nigerian fans are not that user-friendly. When in the first minute you concede a goal, instead of supporting you, they’ll start booing you.
“So you don’t want things like that to happen. You should know the kind of environment you’re playing in. So the players have to be very careful and like I said earlier, play to instructions.”
Siasia was part of Nigeria’s 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winning side who defeated Zambia in the final at the El Menzah Stadium in Tunis.
While he acknowledges he knows not much about their current, squad, he knows one trait they have – pace.
“Talking about the Zambians, it’s two different eras from the team I faced in 1994. Different players and the game has changed from when we used to play. I don’t know much about the Zambian team but I know they won their last two games, that’s why they are where they are.
“It’s not a team that you should toy with but Zambians can be typically fast too,” Siasia whose Olympic Eagles beat Zambia in 2015 noted.
Saturday’s game comes up at 5pm local time.