Nigeria : Siasia – Argentina Tough Even Without Messi

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Nigeria coach, Samson Siasia, has insisted his team will face a very formidable Argentina next month even if superstar Lionel Messi will not be part of the friendly.

Argentina have named a squad for the June 1 clash in Abuja without household names like Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel di Maria, Fernando Gargo and Carlos Tevez with Nicolas Otamendi, Emiliano Insua and Pablo Zabaleta the only notable names for the trip to Nigeria.

However, Siasia has now brushed aside suggestions that two-time world champions Argentina will line up a weak side against the Super Eagles in this high-profile match-up.

“I am a coach and a former International who knows what a strong team is and should be. I believe strongly that Argentina will be Argentina even without Messi, Tevez and the rest of them,” Siasia said.

“This is a team rated the fourth best in the world presently. So I don’t care whether all the stars are there or not. What I know is that the players are top players good enough to represent their country and we won’t be fooled into believing they will parade a weakened side.

“Ours is to do our best to get a good result against them. We will prepare very well for the match because if we get a good result in the friendly, it will definitely help us in the Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on June 6.

Siasia added: “We need to continue winning our matches which has already helped as regards the confidence of the players, unlike in the past where we struggled to win games.”

Siasia’s assistant, Simon Kalika, would also insist that Argentina remain a formidable force even without Messi.

“I don’t really know what people are saying and their definition of a weak team. Argentina are one of the best in the world and they are blessed with top stars across the globe. So they have enough reservoir of talents to beat any team in the world,” Kalika said.

“I won’t be fooled that Argentina will be weak. I have the dossier of their players, who are all doing well at their various clubs and we still have some of them from the first team.

“We are going to concentrate on getting a good result against them.”

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