Nigeria's Siasia calls for goals in Madagascar test

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Nigeria coach Samson Siasia in 2011
Nigeria coach Samson Siasia knows that anything other than victory in Madagascar will leave the Super Eagles floundering in their bid for a place at the Nations Cup

Nigeria coach Samson Siasia says his squad must prove their worth in their crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Madagascar on Saturday.

The Super Eagles are second in Group B, three points behind Guinea, with only two games remaining.

Siasia has been forced to make major changes to the line-up, with a number of high-profile stars being ruled out.

"I think this is a great opportunity for other players to prove their case to the national selector," Siasia said.

Regular national team players like Osaze Odemwingie, Kalu Uche, Danny Shittu and Taye Taiwo are all out of the game.

There is also concern over the fitness of striker Peter Utaka and the availability of defender Chibuzor Okonkwo.

Siasia has been forced to hand late call-ups to South Africa-based Gege Soriola and Emmanuel Ekpo - who plays in Major League Soccer in the USA.

"There are enough strikers and midfielders in the original squad to compliment the team at this trying moment," Siasia told BBC Sport.

"We must win in Madagascar [and] we have strikers that can score goals."

The Nigeria squad will fly straight to Bangladesh after the game in Antananarivo to play a friendly with Argentina on 6 September.

But Siasia insist his priority is securing a ticket to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

"We are taking it one step at a time, the game in Madagascar is like a cup final, we are going there to fight for all three points," the coach said.

"Argentina is only a friendly, we do not have any point to prove to anyone. We've got to win our next two matches in our [Nations Cup qualifying] group to secure qualification.

"The two matches (against Madagascar and then at home to Guinea in October) are the biggest games we have to face now.

"Missing some of our players is a wake-up call that we have to do it the hard way."

In the group's other game, Guinea play Ethiopia in Conakry on Sunday.

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