Between Atlanta ’96 and Rio2016, a lot has changed for Nigerian football. Not even the most audacious Nigerian ball fan is expecting anything from this Class of 2016 led by Chelsea and Super Eagles midfielder, John Mikel Obi. Yet, the history of Nigeria’s outing at the Olympic is replete with surprises. Nigeria went against history to defeat Brazil and Argentina in semi final and final in 1996 to win the gold, the first time by an African team.Will Mikel and co similarly prove that Never Say Die Nigerian spirit at Rio2016?The trip to Manaus to take on the Samurai Blue on Friday morning has been fraught with the usual Nigerian culture of lack of proper coordination.The Dream Team finally departed their training base in Atlanta, Georgia, for Brazil after three postponements over delayed issuance of flight tickets. THISDAY checks revealed that the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) failed to remit the needed funds to pay for the team’s chartered flight into Brazil.Of course, cash-strapped NOC could not have done that without getting the needed funds from Abuja. Until 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon, Dream Team players and their officials were stuck in their hotel rooms, waiting for money to be remitted for their trip to Manaus.But officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) always lampooned for not planning ahead for such engagements yesterday washed off their hands from the mess the Dream Team went through to get to Brazil.“This is not our fault at all. We handed over the team to the NOC two weeks ago and started telling officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports the need to tidy up arrangements on time on how to get the Under-23 team to Brazil. Now, see the embarrassment we all have been made to go through before arriving Brazil for our first match on Friday morning,” revealed the football official to THISDAY wednesday.However, if travel plans are the only problems the team is having, Coach Samson Siasia who is aiming to go beyond the silver he won against Argentina at the final of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will not be sighing the way he is doing today. The Dream Team VI coach does not have the full complement of his key players to be in a position of strength. Kelechi Iheanacho, Aminu Mohammed and Taiwo Awoniyi have been stopped from Rio2016 the same way Arsenal asked Alex Iwobi not to play at the Games.But Mikel who is leading the team in his quest for the Olympic medal he missed in 2008 when he failed to honour Siasia’s invitation may turn out the motivation for Nigeria. And winning against Japan tomorrow may just set the tone of what to expect in the Group B pairing that also have Sweden and Colombia as Dream Team’s next foes.The Japanese on the other hand are not the type to wave off with the hands. They are at the Games as Asian Confederation champions.They dominated their qualifying group for the AFC U-23 Championship, dispatching Macau, Vietnam and Malaysia with ease by scoring ten goals across the three matches without any conceding.Japan continued that good form into the final tournament, winning all three pool games to top Group B and progress to the quarter-finals.The Samurai Blue went on to claim the continental title, coming from two goals down to win the final 3-2 against Korea Republic and will rely heavily on Arsenals Takoma Asano upfront and veteran Hiroki Fujiharu to seal the back at Rio2016.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram TWENTY YEARS AFTER ATLANTA GOLDDuro IkhazuagbeNigeria’s quest for another Olympic football glory 20 years after the Nwankwo Kanu-led generation won at Atlanta, USA, begins in the early hours of tomorrow morning (2am) when the Dream Team VI takes on Japan in Manaus, Brazil.
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Uganda’s head coach Moses Basena focus has now turned to CECAFA.Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Cranes head coach Moses Basena has named a 26-man squad to start training on Wednesday ahead of their defence of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kenya.Champions KCCA FC have eight players in the squad, but Shaban Mohammed who has struck six in his first three matches, was overlooked. Club sources say he is being preserved for the U20 COSAFA team.The CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, which brings together all the national teams of the 13 member countries, will be held December 3 to 17, 2017.Uganda are the current champions having won a record 14th title in Addis Ababa in December 2015 after beating Rwanda 1-0 in the final. Cranes squad has:Goalkeepers: Isma Watenga (Vipers SC), Benjamin Ochan (KCCA FC), Nicholas Sebwato (Onduparaka FC) Ikara Tom (Kirinya Jinja SS)Rest of team: Wadada Nicholas (Vipers SC), Kiyemba Ibrahim (Sc Villa Jogoo), Isaac Muleme (KCCA FC), Aggrey Madoi (Police FC), Juuko Murushid Simba-Tanzania), Timothy Awanyi (KCCA FC), Savio Kabugo (Proline FC), Bernard Muwanga (Sc Villa Jogoo), Tom Masiko (Vipers SC), Mutyaba Muzamiru (KCCA FC), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC), Albert Mugisa (Police FC), Karisa Milton (Vipers SC), Mucureezi Paul (KCCA FC), Allan Kateregga (KCCA FC), Allan Kyambadde (Sc Villa Jogoo), Nelson Senkatuka (Bright Stars FC), Derick Nsibambi (KCCA FC), Hood Kaweesa (Police FC), Batte Seif (Bright Stars FC), Saddam Juma (KCCA FC), Daniel Isiagi (Proline FC), Basse Methodious (Mbarara City FC).**Source FUFA.CO.UGShare on: WhatsApp