Friday, August 5, 2016 7:47 pm
Nigeria U-23 team’s Head Coach, Samson Siasia has described the performance of his players that saw them beating Japan 5-4 in their opening game of the football event of the Rio Olympics barely five hours after arriving Manaus as a miracle. Siasia said this after the match at the Amazonia Stadium, Manaus.
“I just can’t describe what happened today. My boys defied science to win this game; what gave us this game was the mental toughness of the boys. For a team not to train for two days and put up this type of performance is a miracle. You know that when players are tired they tend to lose focus. That is why we conceded four goals. For now, all I can say is I just want to go and savour this victory with my players,” he said.
On his plan for the next game, Coach Siasia said: “We just won a game; we can’t and won’t allow this victory get into our heads. Our target here is to win the gold and this is just the first step of us achieving that aim. No two games are the same, for me this hurdle is over, when I wake up tomorrow I will then think of my next game.”
Describing the Japanese side as a good side, Siasia added: “The team we defeated are a good side; I respect them for pushing my boys to the limit.”
Coach Siasia refused to speak on the issues that caused him and the team to arrive Manaus hours before the game, saying the team have put that behind them and are grateful to Delta Airlines for coming to the rescue of the team when they did.
Describing the nine -goal session as a spectacle, the 2008 Olympics silver –winning coach said: “I knew that towards the end of the game my boys were tired and barely managed to hang on. I will not blame any one of them for the goals we conceded. We have put this match behind us. I hope my team sustains this great form and even step up a gear in our subsequent matches.”
Meanwhile, the four goal –hero in the 5-4 victory of the Nigeria U-23 team against Japan, Oghenekaro Etebo has said his target is to help the team win the gold rather than pursuing the highest goal scorer award.
Etebo who was given the match ball after the game, said: “Scoring all the goals in this competition and not winning the gold medal would have amounted to a waste of effort and that’s not my target. Yes, it would be great to see my efforts contributing to the success of the team, but if it will not lead us to the gold, and then I don’t want it.”
Speaking further, Etebo disclosed that the motivating factor in the team is Coach Siasia who has played the role of a father to the players even in times when they don’t believe they can do it, and added that the players are motivated to win for him.
Calling on Nigerians to continue to support them, the Portugal based marksman said they are happy to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians who they know were awake all night to watch them play the Japanese.