Super Eagles midfielder, Mikel Obi says the Nigeria’s U-23 team had a turbulent period preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Despite experience some ups and downs prior to one of the world’s greatest sports showpiece, the team still went ahead to claim a bronze medal at the games after beating Honduras 3-2 in the third place match.
Mikel, who was one of the over-age players that represented Nigeria, revealed that the team had little or nothing to depend on in terms of food and training facilities while preparing for the Olympic Games
“It wasn’t a great experience in the build-up in Atlanta. There was no food for the guys, no bus to go to training, no pitch to train on,” Mikel told Chelseafc.com on Friday in an interview.
“Coming into the team I tried to help as much as I can. The boys had suffered for two years, working very hard trying to play in Rio. I wanted to help as much as I could and they all say they owe me. It’s a great achievement that we managed to go there and win a medal.”
Meanwhile, the Chelsea midfielder also revealed his delight to have represented Nigeria at the Rio Olympic Games. He claimed it was an experience that would forever relish till eternity.
“Yes, it was amazing. Leading the team not just in football but athletics, basketball, everything, was amazing for me. What an honour to be able to do that, and to represent my country is something I’m always proud of. The boys were absolutely amazing and I hope to see them all playing at the top level soon,” he said.
“I hadn’t played in an Olympics before, I missed out in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 we didn’t qualify for London, so I spoke to the club and got their permission to go. It was an amazing experience to play with the Under-23s and lead the team, being the captain of the nation leading it to Rio. I’m very, very proud.
“As a footballer you probably only get one opportunity to play in the Olympics, it was a great experience and the Brazilian fans were amazing too. They supported us all the way and wanted us to do well, to make the final. It was one of the best tournaments I’ve had.”