Siasia thrilled with win


LAGOS, February 10-Nigeria coach Samson Siasia says Wednesday's 2-1 win over Sierra Leone in his first match in charge had boosted the Super Eagles' confidence ahead of next month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Ethiopia.

"The boys did very well against Sierra Leone and the bottom line was to win. This will help us to have a little bit more confidence when we play our next game," said the 43-year-old coach, who signed a four-year contract in December.

Nigeria took a 2-0 lead in the first half through a penalty by Taye Taiwo and Ekigho Ehiosun, before a spirited Leone Stars pulled a goal back in the dying minutes.

Siasia added: "This is going to help us to develop the confidence to move forward. Overall, the boys did very well and I am actually proud of them.

"I am satisfied with what the players produced. I never said it was going to be easy playing against Sierra Leone but it was a good start. I am pleased.

"Considering we only trained once and these are new players playing together for the first time, we shouldn’t expect too much as regards ball possession because the understanding wasn’t there.

"But in the first half this game could have been gone 3-0 and that would have been it.

"But in the second half we didn’t play like we ought to play, we made a lot of changes, we lost our shape and the tactical discipline wasn’t there. We made too many errors and the goal they scored against us was as a result of not marking well in that area."

Siasia also salutes the contributions of the players from the Nigeria Premier League.

"We had a lot of injuries and we had to try out the home-based players which actually paid off as Ehis (Ekhigo Ehiosun) scored the second goal,

"If we don’t start using them in matches like this, when could we put them in the team? It was a good contribution from the young players who play their football at home."

Skipper Joseph Yobo admitted the Eagles lost steam towards the end of the match.

"We could have won this game convincingly in the first half maybe by 3-0. The coach gave new players the opportunity to play and we lost our shape a little bit and towards the end we lost steam," he said.

Another positive to take from the game was the performance of Inter Milan teenager Joel Obi, the uncapped 19-year-old who was taking the place of injured Heartland of Owerri midfielder Ikechukwu Ibenegbu.

The Inter Milan player looked very much at home in his first match for Nigeria and provided an assist for the second goal when his cross from the left was finished off masterfully by Ehiosun.

"He’s a delight to watch with his magical left foot," hailed former African Footballer of the Year, Victor Ikpeba.