THE NIGERIA U-23 squad
will on Monday begin its final
preparations for the men’s
football tournament of this
year’s Olympics, when the
delegation departs Nigeria
for the Suwon Invitational
Led by Samson Siasia, who
also steered Nigeria’s last
squad at the men’s football
tournament of the Olympics
(Beijing 2008) to runner –up
spot, the African champions
have self –belief they are good
enough for gold in Rio de
Janeiro in August.
“Not many people gave us
a chance going to the African
finals in Senegal. We love it
that way because so much
focus is on the other teams and
we are able to concentrate on
devising our own strategies.
“The last time I took the
U-23 to the Olympics, we won
silver. This time, we will aim
for gold,” said Siasia.
Siasia has picked captain
Azubuike Okechukwu,
goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel,
defenders Stanley Amuzie and
Segun Oduduwa, midfielders
Usman Mohammed and
Stanley Dimgba, forwards
Taiwo Awoniyi and Saviour
Godwin and 12 others for the
invitational tournament. The
list is made up of 12 home
–based and eight overseas –
based professionals.
After the tournament in
Korea, the team will train in
Manchester, United Kingdom
before heading to Atlanta,
United States of America, from
where it will travel to Rio de
Janeiro for the Olympics.
Atlanta, USA was the setting
for Nigeria’s triumph at the
men’s football tournament of
the Olympics in 1996 – a first for
an African country.
Nigeria will play in Group
B of the tournament against
Sweden, Colombia and Japan.
Hosts Brazil, who lost 0-1 to
Nigeria in a friendly in Brazil
two months ago, head Group
A which also has South Africa,
Iraq and Denmark. Germany,
Mexico, Korea Republic and
Fiji make up Group C while
Argentina, Honduras, Algeria
and Portugal are in Group D.
Emmanuel Daniel, Yusuf
Mohammed, Emmanson Daniel,
Sincere Seth, Ndifreke Effiong,
Segun Oduduwa, Stanley
Amuzie, Julius Emiloju, Erhun
Obanor, Saturday Erimuya,
Azubuike Okechukwu, Usman
Mohammed, Stanley Dimgba,
Sodiq Popoola, Saviour
Godwin, Taiwo Awoniyi,
Ubong Ekpai, Abdulrahman
Taiwo, Nathan Oduwa,
Tiongoli Tonbara

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