Nigeria survived shoddy travel plans and a shortage of funds to win the men’s football bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and 1996 gold medal winner Sunday Oliseh praises his younger compatriots.
The Olympic Eagles defeated Honduras 3-2 in the bronze medal match, and Oliseh reserves special praise for Sadiq Umar, who scored four goals in the tournament, and other star performers.
“Nigeria had a good tournament if you take into account all the problems they ran into before the competition. The players can be proud of finishing third,” Oliseh, who won 54 caps for the Super Eagles and is now a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group, told FIFA.com.
“Winning this medal is magnificent for Nigerian football. We won gold in 1996 and silver in 2008, so we just needed a bronze for our collection. Now we’ve got them all.
“There are some excellent individual players in this team,” continued Oliseh. “I’ve enjoyed watching Abdullahi Shehu at the back, who entertained us all when he got up to support the attack. Okechukwu Azubuike also caught my eye, as did Sadiq Umar, who was very solid in the role of forward. There’s quality running right through this team. Collectively, they’ve also had some nice moments during the tournament, but unfortunately the match against Germany revealed their limitations.”
Oliseh, who was pivotal as the Dream Team romped to Africa’s first Olympic football gold in 1996, refuses to compare the present team with his team of 20 years ago.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he could compare the two teams.
” Every country talks about its own golden generation, and Nigeria is no different. You can’t have several golden generations, or at least not in a short space of time.