PREVIEW: Nigeria target Japan fall
Samson Siasia’s men begin their quest for gold when they face Makoto Teguramori in Manaus
Nigeria begin their Olympic football campaign with an opening day fixture against Japan at the Amazon Arena on Friday morning.
This is Nigeria’s 7th appearance and Samson Siasia’s side will be hoping to replicate the success of their compatriots who won gold in 1996 at the Atlanta Games.
Nigeria last played in this competition at the Beijing 2008 Games when Siasia led the side to a silver medal win after losing the final to Argentina. They missed out on qualification for the 2012 games in London.
Japan posted their best ever finish in the Olympics football event when placed fourth in London 2012.
One interesting fact is that both teams qualified as the U-23 champions of their respective confederations.
The Samurai Blue boast considerable firepower in Arsenal new boy Takuma Asano, and will look to exploit any uncertainty in the Nigeria defence.
Dream Team VI have enough depth in the centre of midfield with Oghenekaro Etebo and captain John Mikel Obi the stalwarts of Siasia’s team.
Nigeria will also be comforted by their superior record over Japan at the Olympics. The two sides have met three times at this stage, with Nigeria winning twice while Japan spanked Nigeria 3-1 at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.