Nigeria football fans have now turn their attention to the Rio Olympics and 2018 World cup qualifiers after Super Eagles lost to Egypt in Alexandria and ouster the 2017 African cup of Nations in Gabon.
Although, Nigeria was defeated, but the gallant display in the way Super Eagles played in the two encounters may have inspired nostalgia for most of the fans.
Over the last seven years or so, Nigerian football has evolved and seems to have lost its flavor. And how Nigerians longed to see another golden era, like the one that spanned through the 90s: the indefatigable US 94 World Cup squad and the conquest of the true Dream team in Atlanta 96 Olympic games.
Having to see such a vibrant young Super Eagles playing alike with such tenacity and display of massive skills in both Kaduna and Alexandria may have been what got the fans excited. Whoa! If Samson Siasia, the interim Chief Coach, could hurriedly assemble such a team under a week, then you could imagine what will happen when the boys stay together longer and possibly blend…
What is even more exciting is 75% of these Super Eagles players fall under 23 years old and can genuinely be part of the Rio Olympic dream team. Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester city and Alex Iwobi of Arsenal are doing well in Europe. Etebo Ogenekaro is on top of his game and may just be one of the key players in Rio bound squad.
Top of the class, John Mikel Obi of Chelsea, Watford goal machine, Odion Ighalo, West ham Victor Moses and CSKA Moscow speed racer, Musa Ahmed can be added to the final team.
Of Course, there are other enterprising players including: Okechukwu Azubuike, Taiwo Awoniyi, Isaac Success, Victor Osimhen, Musa Mohammed, Leo Balogun, Kenneth Omerue, Wilfred Ndidi among others. Just to think of the crop of players available for selection gives the fans the feeling that the Rio Olympic bound Dream team will be truly special.
Siasia has been a master in grooming youth teams and has the pedigree in top class tournament, having led Nigeria’s team to 2005 U20 World cup as well as 2008 Olympic men soccer finals.
Some of the fans we spoke to have so many wishful thinking. They believe Siasia can qualify Nigeria for 2018 World cup and beyond. But first, NFF must allow him to lead the Dream team and properly usher in the newly fire up Super Eagles.
Indeed, If Siasia could stick with Emmanuel Amunike as his assistant, fans believe these top class coaches can complement each other in grooming a team all Nigerians will truly be proud of, both at Rio Olympics and 2018 World cup.