19 August 2016
On Saturday, August 20, Nigeria’s Olympic U-23 football team will take on Honduras in the men’s football Olympic Bronze medal match.
Germany sent Nigeria to the third place hopeful slot on Wednesday in a 2-0 semifinal match, while Brazil sent Honduras the same way in their 6 – 0 bashing of fellow Southern America country in the second semifinal match of the same Wednesday.
With the Dream Team VI having missed its shot at competing against Brazil for the gold medal, it will have to contend with Honduras to, at least, get a bronze, which possibly will be the only prize Team Nigeria will have to show for the country’s efforts.
Nigeria’s loss to Germany at the semifinal stage was disappointing to many, especially those who had looked up to football as the only event Nigeria could expect to win a medal at the Games having performed woefully in other events.
Others are of the opinion that it was an expected outcome going by the poor level of preparation the team had prior to the Games.
A former Sports Minister, Bala Ka’Oje, who reportedly reacted to the loss to Germany expressed his disappointment at the outcome of the match, citing poor preparation, bad substitutions by Coach Samson Siasia, among other things as the reasons for the loss.
Along with the criticism, Ka’Oje commended the team’s ability to get this far in the games despite the challenges they faced because of the ineptitude of the Sports Ministry.
While Ka’Oje went on to express confidence in Nigeria’s ability to defeat Honduras and win the bronze medal, the fact remains that Honduras won’t be a pushover given their strong showing in the tournament up until they came up against host Brazil and were thrashed 6 – 0.
Brazil and Germany are already sure of leaving the men’s football tournament with a medal whether they win or lose – loser takes silver while winner takes the gold. Nigeria’s match against Honduras on the other hand will see only one team walk away with a medal (bronze) while the other leaves with nothing.
Winning bronze medal will mean a lot for Nigeria’s contingent to the Olympics as it would help break the country’s medal-less jinx at the Olympics which started at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A bronze medal would mean a lot to Nigeria, but will mean even more to Honduras which have never won a medal at the Olympics since its first appearance in 1968.
The Honduran Olympic men’s football team carries the hope of the country given that more than half of the country’s 27 athletes are footballers.
For both teams, a bronze medal is a big deal, thus, it is to be expected that Honduras will give all they’ve got on Saturday, and Nigeria must as well.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.