—Team To Train In Manchester, Atlanta
Samson Siasia is targetting Olympic gold as Nigeria U-23s will on Monday begin their final preparations for the men’s football tournament of Rio 2016, when the delegation departs Nigeria for the Suwon Invitational Tournament.
The four-nation Suwon invitational takes place between 2 June and 6 June with Honduras and Denmark joining the hosts and Nigeria.
Led by Siasia, who won silver at Beijing 2008, the African champions are confident they are good enough for gold in Rio de Janeiro in August.
“Not many people gave us a chance going to the African finals in Senegal,” Siasia said in a Nigeria Football Federation release. “We love it that way because so much focus is on the other teams and we are able to concentrate on devising our own strategies.
“The last time I took the U-23 to the Olympics, we won silver. This time, we will aim for gold.”
Siasia has picked captain Azubuike Okechukwu, goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel, defenders Stanley Amuzie and Segun Oduduwa, midfielders Usman Mohammed and Stanley Dimgba, forwards Taiwo Awoniyi and Saviour Godwin and 12 others for the invitional tournament. The list is made up of 12 home-based and eight overseas-based players.
After the tournament in Korea, the team will train in Manchester, United Kingdom before heading to Atlanta, United States of America, from where they will travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics.
Atlanta, USA was the setting for Nigeria’s triumph at the men’s football tournament of the Olympics in 1996 – a first for an African country.
Nigeria will play in Group B of the tournament against Sweden, Colombia and Japan. Hosts Brazil, who lost 0-1 to Nigeria in a friendly in Brazil two months ago, head Group A which also has South Africa, Iraq and Denmark. Germany, Mexico, Korea Republic and Fiji make up Group C while Argentina, Honduras, Algeria and Portugal are in Group D.
20 PLAYERS FOR SUWON TOURNAMENT
1. Emmanuel Daniel
2. Yusuf Mohammed
3. Emmanson Daniel
4. Sincere Seth
5. Ndifreke Effiong
6. Segun Oduduwa
7. Stanley Amuzie
8. Julius Emiloju
9. Erhun Obanor
10. Saturday Erimuya
11. Azubuike Okechukwu
12. Usman Mohammed
13. Stanley Dimgba
14. Sodiq Popoola
15. Saviour Godwin
16. Taiwo Awoniyi
17. Ubong Ekpai
18. Abdulrahman Taiwo
19. Nathan Oduwa
20. Tiongoli Tonbara