Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games will kick-off August 5 and Nigeria’s Dream Team VI coach Samson Siasia is looking beyond the group stage as he sets his eye on playing the host nation, Brazil at the finals.
It could be recalled that both teams clashed at 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games with the South Americans winning in the group stage, before Nigeria shocked them 4-3 in the semi-finals to book the epic final with Argentina.
Last month, the two countries met in an international friendly match in Brazil as part of preparation for this year’s Olympic Games and Nigeria stunned the host nation 1-0 to prove their supremacy in the FIFA under-23 football category.
Coach Siasia, who was at the Rio Olympic draw recently, said when he stood near the Brazilian coach Dunga, he thought of another possible clash with the Samba Boys and this time, he wants it to be at the finals.
‘’ I smiled when I stood near the Brazilian coach after the draw at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. I told myself this is the man I would be playing against in the final match.”
Nigeria was drawn in Group B alongside Sweden, Columbia and Japan while host Brazil were paired in Group A with South Africa, Denmark and Iraq.
Already, tongues are wagging following reports that Brazil senior national team captain and Barcelona talisman, Neymar has been penciled down as one of the over aged players to lead coach Dunga’s attack.
Siasia had hinted that he is not disturbed with the top class players his group opponents would be parading at the Olympics, noting that football is all about team work rather than individuals.
The former Super Eagles midfielder has hinted of Chelsea star, Mikel Obi, desire to be part of the Dream Team for the Rio Olympics, following his inability to be part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Siasia refused to call up Mikel for the Beijing Olympics after he stayed away for the qualifiers.
However, Nigerian Pilot Sports gathered that Siasia has included Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi and Odion Ighalo in the provisional list of players for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as possible over-aged players.
“I guess that because Mikel missed out the last time, he wants to make up for it. Not only that, in the last couple of games he has played for the Super Eagles, he has been playing very well and if he wants to be part of the team, of course he is welcome, but as I said, we have to look at the positions we really, really need people.
“We are not going to select players because they play for the Super Eagles or because they are still under the age bracket. They have to compete with those players who actually qualified the team for the Olympics.”
While confirming that he has sent a provisional list of 60 players for the Games to the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Siasia said, “if your name is not on that list, then no Olympics for you. That is why we put as many names as we can, we do not know the Europe-based players whose clubs would release for the Games.”
Meanwhile, Coach Siasia has warned that players from the domestic league called up for training camp for the Rio Olympics have till Monday to report or else stay away.
Speaking after the team’s training session at the practice pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, Siasia said he does not want to make the mistake of the past when players who had been penciled down by the coaches were not available when needed.
“I want to work with only the players on ground, and to get them to the shape I want.”
The team is billed to feature in the invitational Toulon Football Festival in France next month as part of their preparations for the Rio Olympics.
On the over aged players, Siasia said, “Yes, I have read of plans by Sweden to include someone like Zlatan Ibramovich as one of their over aged players for the Games. Good for them, but as far as we are concerned, there is nothing like fear. For us, we are trying to put up a team, and that will determine which players we are going to bring. We have played against players of stronger caliber than Zlatan. We have played against Lionel Messi and Di Maria and others.
“We would rather think of the fact that they have a strong team that will play against us, and not individual players. I do not want to jump around and start mentioning names, and later if those players are not available, we would be disappointed. So, I have to be sure of what I am doing and when that time comes, we will release the names.”
Siasia lost to Argentina in the Gold medal match at the Beijing Olympics eight years ago.


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