Former Golden Eaglets head coach, Alphonsus Dike has said psychology will play a key role in the Dream Team VI clash against the Fennec Foxes of Algeria at the ongoing U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal.
The Nigerians will confront their North African opponents in Saturday’s last group make or mar duel at the Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Dakar.
Both sides are tied on four points after match day 2 clash though the Algerians enjoy a better placement at the summit due to superior goals.
Dike said the players need the whole of reassurance from the coaches to be able to overpower the Algerians.
“We can overcome the Algerians at least we were in the comfort zone in the past two matches to Mali and Egypt before we allowed the opponents a comeback.
“Here we need to ask questions why the players appeared to burn out energies in the second half of the matches to Mali and Egypt.
“We must look at the mental and psychology of the players especially as concerns management of energy and stamina over 90 minutes.
“Football is about two halves so they cannot continue to do well in one half and falter in the second half.
“So the coaches must sound the players out mentally and psychologically to reassure them to believe in themselves.
“They must be told to forget the outcome of the two past matches to Mali and Egypt and concentrate wholly on Algeria.
“Already the players must have been weighed down having to struggle to finish two matches they led comfortably.
“I believe once this pep talk is perfectly done they will be good to go against Algeria to secure the three points and qualify for the semifinals and eventually claim one of the Olympic tickets.
“Of course, Algeria will not come cheap coming from a background of rich football culture, they will not be easy to overpower but the Nigerians can still do it with good composure and calmness,” said the former Enugu Rangers and Nasarawa United coach to supersport.com.
Though a draw can still see the Dream Team VI into the semifinals depending on the outcome of the clash between Egypt and Mali but a win will guarantee 100% passage to the knockout stage.
Three teams are guaranteed automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.