AFCON qualifier: Oliseh to field more foreign-based players for Egypt cracker

By The Citizen
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The Chief Coach of Super Eagles, Sunday Oliseh, has given an insight on the composition of his team for the two legged Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Egypt next month.

Nigeria are scheduled to host the first leg of the qualifier for the 2017 AFCON in Gabon in Kaduna on 25 March and four days later played against the Pharaohs in Cairo.

Oliseh said that with the interactions he had with some of the foreign-based players and some of their matches watched on television, he is excited that they are currently doing well.

'I have not sent any list to Nigeria Football Federation, but the team will be predominantly foreign-based,' Oliseh said.

The coach also revealed that he has been contacting the players through emails and phone calls, while he has watched matches of the polayers in Holland and Belgium.

By next week he hopes to be in England as part of his shuttle diplomacy to intimate the players about his programme for the all-important qualifiers.

'The good news is that I will get some funds from the football authority to travel. This will not give me the chance to come to Nigeria this Friday because if I come around I will be doing nothing,' the coach said in a live interview on Lagos sports radio early Tuesday.

'I hope to be back in the country in the next two weeks to kick start the programme. Thanks goodness, we still have about 31 days to the match in Kaduna and most of our players abroad are in good form now,' he said.

Oliseh further disclosed that he has been doing some underground works on Nigeria's opponents as he was able to get tapes of the Pharaohs' matches through some contacts in Egypt.

'The Egyptians are result-oriented. They are good in the midfield and defend very well. They are equally good in counter attack. The advantage they have over us is that mostly all their players are home-based. I'm happy that we have our own stars too, and we'll be playing at home,' he said.

The coach, however, wants home fans to turn out in their numbers for the game at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna as the fans turned out to cheer Kano Pillars to victory in weekend's first match of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) against Rangers International in Kano. Pillars won the match 2-1.

'I watched the match on television and I could see how the stadium was filled to capacity. This is what I think could give us victory in Kaduna with our fans' support. I also saw some of our home-based players in the match. They did wonderfully well,' Oliseh said.

While calling for the support of all Nigerians, Oliseh said: 'I don't want us to make mistakes we made two years ago. Though we stumbled, we are back on our feet again. We are gradually climbing up the FIFA rankings. We should sustain this. We should see Egypt as the enemies we must jointly fight to defeat. We must be in Gabon and Russia at all costs. These should be our priorities now,' he said.

Reacting to the goal scoring form of Emmanuel Emenike who scored a brace for West Ham in weekend's FA Cup quarter-finals against Championship side Blackburn, Oliseh said Emenike, who retired from the national team last year, did a good job in the match, but he insisted that he was not disturbed that the player is no longer in the Eagles.

'We have other good players in Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses and others. There is no problem because we have a lot of players who are equally good and doing well for their clubs,' he said. – The News.