The Dream Team’s bronze medal triumph at the Rio Olympics was the only achievement Team Nigeria managed to win as a whole.
It did not come that easy for Siaisa and his boys following the rigours they went through before emerging third best in the men’s football event of the Games.
However, some people are not happy with the outcome of Nigeria’s contingents at the Olympic Games but the U-23 team still gave the nation something to cheer about.
Here are five reasons Nigerians should praise Siasia and his squad for winning bronze at Rio
1. Poor Planning: The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) did not make adequate preparations for the football team and Team Nigeria in general where athletes had to source for funds on their own.
Siasia and the Dream Team Vi were camped in Atlanta and had to survive on their own as this did not mentally help the team in preparing for the event.
A magnanimus Nigerian paid the hotel bills for the first 10 days the crew spent at their base and a similar incident happened in Salvador where Mikel was said to have footed the hotel bills.
2. Logistics: The national U-23 side were at the last minute flown out of the Atlanta airport on the day the squad had their first group match against Japan in Manaus.
Nigeria got to Brazil six hours before the game and still managed to get nerve to defeat Japan after been drained on a seven-hour flight.
3. Distraction: First, we that hear the minister is threatening Siasia and another is that he is apologizing after seeing the promises the team has shown after two matches.
The minister himself was also choosing who is to captain the squad before the competition started which did not speak well of how they handled the boys administratively.
4. Funding: The issues of bonuses and allowances is another point of reference that should have hindered the Dream Team from representing their beloved country at the Games.
The team refused to train in their 0-2 loss to Colombia and also threatened to boycott their quarter final match against Denmark because they had not been paid.
5. Team selection: The loss to Colombia and Germany showed that the team lacked formidable replacements for players that were missing owing to injury and suspension.
Mikel and Akpeyi were only the over-aged players drafted into the squad probably Ogenyi Onazi along with Brown Ideye’s inclusion in the squad could have been key in some areas of the team.
Above all, Siasia and his boys were not disgraced and still came home with a medal for Nigeria under the circumstances they found themselves.
Nigeria becomes the only country that has won gold, silver and bronze in men’s football at the Olympics including gold in Atlanta 1996, silver in Beijing 2008 and bronze in the Rio 2016.