Team Nigeria Captain Jon Obi Mikel on Saturday attributed the Nigeria U-23 victory over Japan in their first group match to the goodwill...
Team Nigeria Captain Jon Obi Mikel on Saturday attributed the Nigeria U-23 victory over Japan in their first group match to the goodwill of Nigerians who were solidly behind the team and the grace of God.
Given their arrival to the venue a few hours before the game, many gave an outside chance of winning the match, the best they hoped on was a draw but Mikel inspired his mates to post a dramatic 5-4 win over the Japanese.
“We thank God and millions of Nigerians who stayed awake till late to cheer us. It was not an easy match, we are grateful for their goodwill and support that gave us victory, our focus is now on the next match against Sweden’’ said Mikel.
Nigeria will play Sweden on Sunday at 11pm at the Arena da Amazonia, Manaus, the same stadium where they defeated Japan. The team now has a full complement of all 18 players listed for the Rio Olympics following the arrival of striker Aminu Umar.
Umar, who plays for Osmanlispor in Turkey missed Nigeria’s opening day win over Japan due to club engagements but has now joined the rest of the squad at their base in Manaus.
There were fears the former Nigeria U20 striker would miss the Games outright after failing to join the Nigerian team in their training base in the United States of America, but his arrival now means Coach Samson Siasia now has a full complement of the 18 players on the main list.
Nigeria defeated Japan 5-4 in their first game in the early hours of Friday, despite arriving Brazil just over six hours to kick-off.
They are currently top of group B with maximum points after the first round of matches, and face Sweden on Sunday night in their second game of the competition.
The Dream Team, as the Nigerian Olympic team is called, won gold at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, and silver in Beijing in 2008.