.We’ll prepare well –Siasia
BY JUDITH NWABIA
COACH Samson Siasia was all smiles at the end of the Olympic Football Draw ceremony held in Rio, as the Dream Team was drawn in the first round group that has continental champions Sweden, Japan and Colombia.
Sweden is the European tournament winner, Japan won the Asian version of the qualifiers, while Colombia beat USA in an intercontinental playoff to qualify for Rio. Sweden won last year’s European U21 Championship in the Czech Republic after She defeated Portugal on penalties after a goalless draw in the final.
Sweden won the 1948 Olympics Gold.
Rio would be Japan’s 10th appearance at the Olympics, the best record in Asia along Korea Republic, who Japan incidentally beat 3-2 in the continental final of the qualifiers.
Nigeria’s third opponent in the group, Colombia, had to negotiate her way to the tournament through a two-legged playoff against the USA last month on a 3-2 aggregate. The Rio Olympic men’s football event is her fifth appearance.
The men’s football event of the Rio Olympics would be staged from August 4 to 20. Twenty years ago at Atlanta 1996, Nigeria became the first African side to win gold in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament, downing Argentina 3-2 in the final.
Meanwhile, Dream Team handler, Samson Siasia has said that his team will prepare well for the Olympic campaign as there will be no easy opponents at the Games.
“The group will be difficult but it is fair enough for us to qualify from if we prepare very well for the competition. I am confident we will qualify from the group,” Siasia told Goal via phone moments after the draw.
“Like I said, all the teams are tough there are no more easy teams to beat . It’s all about good preparation.We hope to prepare very well for the tournament and treat all teams equally with respect and map out our programmes and strategy. I am sure of qualification from the group with hard work from us.”