The Under23 squad won the Under23 African Cup of Nations, this automatically qualified them and South Africa to represent the team in the Olympics.
The Rio Olympics held in Brazil from August 5- 21, gave another opportunity for Samson Siasia to prove himself again,after winning Silver in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The preparation for this year Olympics was very poor,may be it was because of the dwindling economic situation in the Country. The Sports Ministry could not do enough to support the Dream Team vi at the Olympics.
Samson Siasia's squad arrived at Rio,few hour before their opening match against Japan. Normally Countries or participants that are going for a Competition, should arrive a week or two to get familiar with the competitive environment. In the Dream Team's case it was different. The boys despite their late arrival at the venue,surmounted all obstacles and beat the Japanese 5 goals to 4 in the opener. Oghenekaro Etebo scored 4 goals in that single match. At the secound game, the Dream Team beat Sweden 2 goals to Nill, to book a place in the quarter- finals. One of the goals was scored by the Team Captain,Mikel Obi.
The third match was against the Columbian side, but they lost that match by 2 goals to Nill.
In analysing their journey to the last 8 of the competition, it was written in the Media that Team Captain,John Mikel Obi bailed the Dream Team out from Atlanta to Rio,when the Sports Ministry could not take care of their financial problems. Oghenekaro Etebo could not play the Quarter-Finals,because he was injured in the match against Columbia. The Dream Team Vi proved their dexterity into play by beating the Danish side 2 goals to Nill,this enabled them to book a place in the Semi-Finals of the Rio Olympics.
In the Semi-Finals, they lost to a balanced and compact German squad who beat them 2 goals to nill. Samson Siasia's boys lacked the skill and lost a lot of goal chances in that game.
The Dream Team Vi had another opportunity to grab a medal in the Olympics, which was the Bronze medal. They played against Honduras who were defeated by the host team by a wide margin. The game started with much pressure by both sides. Mikel Obi and the other players later contained the pressure and scored three goals against their opponents.
The Dream Team vi became careless in the defence line and they allowed the Honduras team to come back with 2 goals. The Honduras squad put a lot of pressures on the Nigerian Back line. At the end, the Dream Team became victorious,winning the Bronze medal match on 3 goals to 2.
Looking at the Dream Team vi in retrospect, they overcame all obstacles,most especially their financial challenges to win the Bronze medal. They paid the price of hard work,resilience and determination to make the Country proud. The Dream team vi are the only ones that won a medal for the Country. No other medal was gotten in the various sporting events that Nigeria was represented.
On this note,i would say Coach Samson Siasia and Team Captain,Mikel Obi deserved to be given National Honours by the Federal Government. The Dream team vi should also be rewarded monetary for their feat in the Olympics.
If a foreigner in the person of Dr Katsuya Tasaku, a Japanese Business man could reward them by doling out $ 390,000 . He stated that " he was impressed with the Dream team,that despite their poor preparation, the boys could get this far". He was touched in his generosity to reward the players.
I think our wealthy men in the Country should follow suit. The Sports Ministry must be responsible to support sports from age-grade upwards,most especially Soccer that has written our names in the annals of history.
In wrapping up, I would love to congratulate Coach Samson Saisia, Mikel Obi and the entire Dream team vi for the feat achieved at Rio.
God Bless the Dream Team vi.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.