Le Roy has indeed supervised many conquests on the African continent and last year, his Congolese side did the unthinkable, beating the Super Eagles of Nigeria 3-2 at home in the opening qualifier of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. The defeat eventually cost Nigeria the defence of the title in Equatorial Guinea.
Speaking with Cafonline.com, a member of the ‘golden generation’ of Nigeria football in the early 90’s, who guided both the Nigeria U-20 and U-23 teams to silver at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2005 and the Olympic Games three years later in Beijing, said he was ready to halt the stride of the ‘Les Diables Noirs’. Excerpts...
Cafonline.com: How ready is your team for the African U-23 Championship qualifier against Congo on Sunday?
Samson Siasia: We have been preparing all this while and should be ready for Congo on Sunday. We are aware that they are a good side with some professional players but we are not scared of them. What we need to do is to have our tactical plans in place and execute them on the match day; the most important thing is for us to create chances and convert them. We are expecting a very good game.
You sound confident and not worried about the fact that it was the Congolese that shut out the Black Meteors of Ghana at the previous round?
This is not a Ghanaian team but a very good Nigerian team; we respect the Congolese and I want to believe they would respect us too. We have been together for about eight months now and we are not doing badly; we have already qualified for the African Games Brazzaville 2015 and want to qualify for both the African U-23 Championship and the Olympics as well. We are hopeful and I would be happy if we can create and score as many goals possible here (Port Harcourt) ahead of the second leg.
How important are the players (Taiwo Awoniyi: Dele Alampasu; Yahaya Muhammed) you drafted from the Under-20 for this assignment?
Every player here is important and we want everyone to be focused on this assignment. The last time we played at home, we couldn't score against Zambia despite the fact that we created about 16 chances.
Congo defeated the Super Eagles at home the last time they came to Nigeria, how do you fancy your chances since Claude Le Roy is also the coach of the Congo U-23 team?
This is not the Super Eagles; this is the Under-23 team and they are not going to beat us. We won't allow what happened to the Super Eagles happen to us.
Your last game against Zambia ended barren in Abuja. What are you looking forward to from the fans on Sunday in Port Harcourt?
We are expecting a large turnout at the stadium on Sunday to cheer us to victory. The fans have been very friendly since we arrived here for our final preparation for the match against Congo. Hopefully, we shall not disappoint the fans here and Nigerians on Sunday. We would do everything possible to secure a comfortable win.