Team off to Brazil today
NIGERIA Olympic team coach Samson Siasia has said Chelsea star Mikel Obi was a natural choice to lead his team as he is also the captain of the Nigeria Olympic contingent as well as the Super Eagles. He takes over from Turkey-based midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu, who led the Dream team VI to win the 2015 U23 AFCON in Senegal.
Making the announcement on Saturday while meeting with players and other officials, Coach Siasia said the choice of Mikel Obi was automatic as he is the captain of the Super Eagles and also the captain of Team Nigeria to the Games. “It’s just natural for me to pick Mikel as our captain. Aside the fact Sports that he is the captain of the Super Eagles, he is also Team Nigeria captain, so after meeting with both of them and explaining my position, I am pleased to say Azubuike who has been our captain understood and was happy to hand over the captain’s band to Mikel. “It is a thing of joy for my team to produce the first footballer to captain Team Nigeria to the Olympics. This, to me, is more than gratifying.” The players unanimously accepted Mikel Obi as their captain and expressed delight at the role he has been playing since he joined the team. On his part, Mikel expressed joy at being made the captain of the Dream Team and said he sees it as an honor that must yield result in Brazil. Meanwhile, the Nigeria U23 will now depart Atlanta, United States of America for Brazil on Monday, 1st August. The earlier arrangement was for the team to depart for Brazil in batches due to difficulties in securing seats for team, but the Nigeria Football Federation decided against that movement and is now thinking of either getting them to Brazil as a team or chartering a private plane to take the team directly to Manaus, venue of the first team’s first match. The African champions begin their campaign in Rio on Friday against Asian champions Japan. Kick-off is 2am Nigerian time. Sweden and Colombia are the other teams in their first round group.