Nigerian national Under-20 head coach Samson Siasia is hopeful of seeing Trinidad and Tobago make their second successive World Cup appearance, but is expecting the “Soca Warriors” will have to overcome an even bigger hurdle than they did before getting to Germany 2006.
Siasia said he was aware of T&T’s accomplishment of becoming the smallest nation ever to get to a World Cup Finals, but just like Trinidad and Tobago, the current Nigeria senior team is still trying to get into a favourable position for qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“I followed Trinidad at the 2006 World Cup and I think once you can get to a World Cup then that means that there must be something good about your team. You don’t underestimate any team that goes to a World Cup,” Siasia told Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) media officer Shaun Fuentes.
But on trying to improve their current position, Siasia said it was important that T&T take every game as if their final hopes depended on the outcome.
“You cannot underestimate any opponent in football today, especially if you are playing against a team that has been to the World Cup before. It means you know what it takes to get there. And every country wants to play in the World Cup. The team should take every game as it comes and play every one of them with the same intention which is to get the best possible result as if all your chances depended on it,” he added.
On Nigeria’s hopes of reaching the 2010 Finals, Siasia added: “I think we will get there but it it’s not going to be a walk in the park. A lot of people were disappointed with our last draw against Mozambique, but I think we will get over it. The team needs all the encouragement just like Trinidad does.”
Siasia is a former Nigerian international with 46 caps and was a member of the 1994 World Cup team in the United States and also their 1994 African Nations Cup-winning squad.
He also coached Nigeria’s Under-20 team to the runners-up spot at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship where they lost to Argentina in the final.
In 2008, Siasia also led Nigeria as head coach to the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics, where they lost again to Argentina in the final.
And Siasia hopes to see a Nigerian national team visit Port of Spain at some stage.
“I would definitely like that. I know Jack Warner invited my Under-23s the last time but we didn’t have the time. But now that we have this kind of relationship going, I think it will be possible to visit Trinidad at some point to play a match