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Siasia hopeful of Olympic gold in Rio

Under-23 team head coach Samson Siasia has declared that the country will “aim for  gold” at the men’s football event of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this year.

Nigeria's national football team head coach Samson Siasia during the African Cup of Nations qualification match between Egypt and Nigeria, on March 25, 2016, in Kaduna.
Nigeria’s national football team head coach Samson Siasia during the African Cup of Nations qualification match between Egypt and Nigeria, on March 25, 2016, in Kaduna.

Siasia is keen on surpassing his personal best at the 2008 Beijing Olympics football event in which he guided Nigeria to a silver medal.

“The last time I took the U23s to the Olympics, we won silver. This time, we will aim for gold,” said Siasia.

The former Nigeria international striker is preparing a squad of 20 players for this year’s Summer Olympics and will see them feature in an invitational tournament in South Korea.

Siasia also took time to draw inspiration from being regarded as powerhouses.

The Nigerian trainer prefers not to have his team rated highly like the case was before the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal.

“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,” he said.

Siasia has already named a 20-man roster for the tournament in Suwon to prepare for the Olympics with Azubuike Okechukwu, Stanley Amuzie, Ndifreke Effiong, Erhun Obanor, Ubong Ekpai, Usman Mohammed, Stanley Dimgba, Taiwo Awoniyi, Saviour Godwin and Tiongoli Tonbara being among those called up.

Nigeria’s under-23s are in Group B of the Olympic men’s football event with Sweden, Colombia and Japan.

Siasia’s men start off their quest for a gold medal against Japan on August 4 before facing Sweden three days later. They will round off their group games in Sao Paulo against Colombia on August 10.


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