By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Super Eagles and Osmanlispor of Turkey midfielder, Raheem Lawal, has predicted a difficult men's football event of the 2016 Olympics for the participating teams, but believes the Nigerian U-23 Eagles will qualify from the Group B that pits them against Colombia, Sweden and Japan.
The draws for the men and women football tournaments was held on Thursday at the legendary Maracana Stadium and Lawal bared his mind to Completesportsnigeria.com, on the chances of the U-23 Eagles.
"The Olympics in Rio will be very difficult for the teams participating, but I feel Nigeria will surely qualify from the Group B," Lawal told Completesportsnigeria.com.
"Colombia play good football, as well as Japan. Sweden played against Nigeria in the U-17 World Cup in 2013. That must be the set of players that have become their present U-23s. We have been doing well at this U-23 level, but we have to take these countries seriously."
Lawal who was part of the Flying Eagles side coached by current U-23 Eagles coach Samson Siasia, that participated at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt then revealed his intention to be one of three over-aged Nigerian players at the Olympics.
"The Olympics is a very big event, and of course, I will gladly accept coach (Samson) Siasia's invitation," Lawal, 25, who has scored one goal and made one assist for his Turkish side in 11 league games further told Completesportsnigeria.com.
"I was in the Flying Eagles team at the U-20 World Cup in 2009 and I had a good working experience with him. He communicates a lot with his players and his pep talks will always motivate you (players)."