By Obiweluozo Martins
The Dream Team VI are set to compete in the Rio Olympic in Brazil and Nigerians are expecting their darling team (Dream Team VI) to do well as always irrespective of the ups and down the U-23 side have face in the last few weeks.
The Samson Siasia led side are certainly the focus of Nigerian football now as all hopes have been casted upon them following the failure of U-20 Flying Eagles led by Emmanuel Amuneke and company to qualify for the U-20 African Youth Championship in Zambia next year.
All eyes will be glued towards the Olympic Team and irrespective of the fact that the team build up and preparation have been poor but there are some reasons for optimizing going into the tournament. On this note we take a look at why the Dream Team VI stand a good chance of clinch a medal (Gold) in Rio.
A LAID TRADITION
The Dream Team must have endured some uncertainties as regards to their preparation to the tournament but there is a certain degree of taste the current team had in the quest to follow in the footsteps of the Atlanta, 1996 Golden era which had Kanu as their skipper who is a champion on an individual level as he acquired all acquirable mainly at club level.
With the John Obi Mikel though as an averaged players in the team unlike who is U-23 share the same career success story as Mikel is a born winner and this can be a reason for hope going to Brazil, the Samba Nation with so much positivity. The fact that the milestone (Olympic Gold) have achieved by one of our own it is easier for the Current Dream Team to look forward to emulating the success story of the premiers inspiring by highly talent Nwankwo Kanu who took the tournament person to an extent.
With the inaugurations and the busting of hope flowing from the players adrenalin there is much reason for the team to believe yes we can following in the footsteps of a foundation (tradition) laid by the Kanu led side exactly 20 years ago.
In the recent years there seemed to be a decent attitude the current generation of Nigerian players have shown in response to tournament. Despite the challenges and a possible one ahead the present team have shown endurance and patient foresee all the team matches and training sections not minding the fact that the Nigerian football hierarchies are not reliable with their promises.
The attitude in training and the desire the player have for the Olympic games are encouraging and is assure sign that the team will play out there hearts for the best Nation Nigeria in the tournament. There is a deep hunger in the team and these urge and provocations can spur any team on in a tournament as done by Portugal and the players and the crew must be credited as this will help Nigeria make a strong challenge to the Olympic Gold in Brazil.
The Olympic Games is becoming somehow interesting because of one man (John Obi Mikel) who missed the Olympic Games in his era in Beijing 2008 but have found a place in the current sides heading to Rio, Brazil in few days. The big one is that the player have been appointed captain of the side just like Brazil’s Neymar in the search for the Olympic Gold medals.
The massive interest showed by the Nigerian who is arguably a veteran of the game is one attributes that defines Nigeria participation at the games later in the coming week. With the arrival of new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte it was feared that the player may be unavailable for the Olympics just like Kenneth Omeruo, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho were held back by the club for pre-season games.
Mikel made a giant stride as he explained to the Chelsea hierarchy why he wanted to feature at the Olympics and there was mutual agreement to that as Mikel out of commitment took a risk of missing the pre-season to impress his new manager which he is unperturbed about and his presence in camp have really lifted the mood of the team in the hunt for glory.
TALENT IN THE MIX
Despite the fact that the Dream Team VI will be missing many array of talent ranging from the defence to the midfield to attack in the absence of Isaac Success, Nwakali Chidiebere, Moses Simon and the little Pea Iheanacho is a sure sign that Nigeria is not beret of talent in the future as the team can still beast of reliable potentials of Umar Sadiq, Etebo Oghenekaro and skipper John Obi Mikel to mention but a few and have the ability to match all opposition quality per quality in the course of a game. The Dream Team VI would fancy their chances as well as the team is not in any way lacking in experience with the balance equation created by Samson Siasia due to the influx of Overage players in delicate position ahead of the Olympics.
LACK OF EXPECTATION
The Nigerian teams are noted for been hyped going into a championship and the end there in have always been destruction (total underperformance). This was the case of the 2015 Flying Eagles led by Musa Mohammed where hyped (though deservedly) going into the context against Brazil.
This in turn became tragedy as the Flying Eagles with all their Ifeanyi Matthew and Wilfred Ndidi’s of this world lost 4-2 to Brazil as this lost came back to hunt Nigeria later as it ensured we came second in the group behind Brazil to meet the tough German side captain by our own Anglo-Nigerian defender Kevin Akpoguma in the attendance of his father, which eliminated Nigeria 1-0 with all the pain attack to it.
In the other hand when a Nigerian side is underrated, they make a good outing and possibly go on to win the trophy just like the less fancied Keshi side won the AFCON in 2013 when the least expected. Let’s hope that such trajectory may be a latter towards Nigeria’s giant stride to the trophy as the team is certainly lacking ovation at the moment.