• Battles Sweden in Manaus
Nigeria’s Dream team will hope to book a quarterfinal ticket at the ongoing Olympics as they confront Sweden in their second game in Manaus.
The Samson Siasia tutored team will file out at 11pm Nigerian time tonight knowing fully well that an outright victory will guarantee qualification into the next round. However, their defence cannot afford to gift goals like they did against Japan on their opening day action.
But for the opportunism of four-goal hero Oghenekaro Etebo, Nigeria’s campaign could well have got off to a losing start.
The central defence combo of William Troost-Ekong and Sincere Seth, better known as a right back, struggled to contain Japan on Friday as Stanley Amuzie, who gave away a penalty to further fuel growing doubts about his defensive capabilities.
Tiredness caused by landing in Brazil barely six hours before kick-off has been given as excuse for the team’s disastrous defending.
There have been suggestions that South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi could well replace Rangers shot stopper Emmanuel Daniel for this fixture.
Sweden strikers Mikael Ishak and Astrit Ajdarevic were on target in the 2-2 opening day draw with Colombia.
Such is the quality of their attack that Valmir Berisha, who was top scorer at the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup, was only a stoppage time substitute.
But as much as the Nigeria defence has struggled, their strike force has flourished even with leading scorer and new Al Ahly signing Junior Ajayi warming the bench for the entire Japan game.