Nigeria’s U-23 male national team coach, Samson Siasia, has advised upcoming footballers to be disciplined in order to succeed in their careers.
Siasia gave the advice on Monday at the ongoing Hon. Charles Ezeani/SIA One Grassroots Football Competition for Anaocha Constituency II in Neni, Anaocha Council Area of Anambra.
The coach said that some talented players missed out on being part of the Nigerian team that won the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Senegal and qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics because of indiscipline.
``You know I had issues (about) my mother being kidnapped; I had issue about not preparing on time.
``And (in) Nigeria, if you don’t prepare on time they don’t care; they just want you to win and if you don’t prepare very well you don’t win.
``But Nigerians don’t look at that at all. I told them before I left (for the tournament), `we had a lot of issues, if I don’t qualify, don’t blame me ’.
``Football is the biggest unifying factor (in Nigeria). If we don’t take care of that sector properly, we can never progress; I thank God for all your prayers.
``We fought very hard to make sure Nigeria qualified for the Olympics.
``This programme will get many young boys off the streets; they are here now, they want to learn, they want to be the next superstars and we all went through this same process.
``Discipline is the keyword. Before we left (for the tournament in Senegal), a couple of my players said that they were going back to play for their clubs. I said `no, you can’t go’.
``They insisted they wanted to go and I said `if you go you are not coming back’ because we needed them then; but they didn’t stay back.
``So we left without them. And what happened? We‘ve won and they will regret it for the rest of their lives.”
He lauded Ezeani for being part of the completion, saying that it would help in the discovery of talents.
In his remarks, the financier of the competition, Ezeani (PDP- Anaocha Consituency II), said that he financed the competition to fulfil the campaign promise he made to empower the youth.
Ezeani, who said that football was a major source of empowerment for interested male and female footballers, observed that female football was still at its infancy.
He described Neni as ``a football-loving community” that has produced the likes of Mikel Obi of Chelsea Football Club of England
He pledged to make the competition an annual event.