18 August 2016
Football enthusiasts in Anambra have poured encomiums on the Nigerian Dream Team VI in spite of their 0-2 loss to the German U-23 football team in the semi-final encounter at the Rio Olympic Games.
The football buffs, who expressed regret over the ouster of the team from competing for gold, said the boys gave their best.
Many said it would be irrational to think that the boys would come off better against a German side that was more motivated and business-oriented, after their ill-treatment by sports administrators during the build-up to the Games.
Rommy Ezeonwuka, proprietor of Rojenny Stadium, Oba, said that he was proud of the team in spite of their loss.
Ezeonwuka said the players, motivated by their captain, John Mikel Obi, showed patriotism, zeal and commitment to the country but lost to a better side.
He said it was unfortunate that sports, which united the country more than any other thing, was being treated with levity as shown in the lack of investment, preparation and motivation of the entire Olympic contingent.
“Those boys were spectacular; they gave their best and I am proud of them.
“Painfully sports that unite this country is being left to suffer but religion which is the root of our differences is being sponsored by the authorities.
“I am hopeful that they will win the third place match against Honduras,’’ he said.
On his part, a Rangers International official, Arthur Ebunam, said he was not disappointed with the outcome of the game.
Ebunam said the team lost to lack of preparation as they did not play as a team against their opponents.
He blamed the declining fortunes of Nigerian football on the Nigerian Football Association and called for an overhaul of the sports sector.
“It is just horrible when you look at the role of government; a situation where a player had to salvage his team from financial embarrassment when the minister of sports was on ground left much to be desired.
“Our football has taken a nosedive under the current NFA; my candid and professional advice is that people should be sacked at the ministry of sports and the NFA,’’ he said.
Also speaking on the match, a civil servant who identified himself simply as Ayorinde, said Nigeria should go back to the basics.
While applauding the Dream Team for their resilience and good showing, he said the only thing that made the difference in football matches was preparation as “the god of soccer is a supporter of every team and country.
“It is good like this; these guys should raise their heads up high; they did more than they were empowered to do.
“My advice is that Nigeria should go back to the drawing board or iPad to see what is wrong and devise a means forward,’’ he said.
Germany will meet Brazil in the final game of the men’s football event while Nigeria squares up against Honduras for the third place.