Rio 2016: Nigeria U23 are favorites to advance from Group B – Vanzekin


Beijing 2008 silver medallist Ambrose Vanzekin insists the group isn’t as difficult as it looks, saying the U-23 team are favourites to advance from the group.

“I don’t think it’s a difficult group. We defeated Japan in 2008; the Colombians are physical, just like us, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Sweden are not a force at U-23 level. We have a lot of quality players who can take this team very far in the tournament,” the ex-Insurance goalkeeper said.

Taribo also believes that with the right preparations, the U-23 team can compete among the best at the Olympics.

He added, “Exposure is very important in international competitions, so they have to play a lot of friendly matches. We have an advantage with an experienced coach like Siasia in charge of the team but the boys need to work very hard.

“If they can continue the way they did in Senegal, they can progress from the group stage but it’s really going to be very tough for them. It’s a competitive group and if you qualify from there, it means you can contend for medals at the event.”

So far the Olympics team have been preparing well but their work could be affected if the current crisis at the Nigeria Football Federation is not quickly sorted out. Further escalation of the problem can even earn Nigeria expulsion from the event by FIFA.

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