You remember how difficult the U-23 had it in the first week of the Olympics, don’t you? From cancelled flights to tales of being kicked out of their hotel rooms, this team had basically seen it all.
The U-23 team finally clinched a medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics and we still can’t believe it.
The team faced Honduras in a battle for the Bronze title after loosing 2-0 to Germany in the semi-finals.
The Nigerian team dominated the game for the first 80 minutes with 3 goals from Sadiq Umar and Aminu Umar.
We seriously thought we had the bronze in the bag until Anthony Lozano and Marcelo Pereira won 2 goals for Team Honduras in the final 20 minutes.
This was us when we saw they had added 4 minutes of extra time to the game.
Mercifully, the whistle was blown and Team Nigeria WON!
Nigeria’s football bronze was the only medal the country managed to clinch in Rio. A tiny step-up from the London 2012 Summer Olympics performance where we had zero medals.
Nigeria is the first African country to have completed a sweep of Olympic medals: Atlanta ’96 Gold, Beijing ’08 Silver and now Rio ’16 Bronze.
Meanwhile, the Japanese plastic surgeon who promised the team a whooping $390,000 if they won actually came through!
And get this, this good Samaritan actually traveled down to Brazil from Tokyo, to cheer the boys during their game against Honduras.
Takasu said he was deeply moved by the Dream team’s financial challenges and extremely resilient spirit.
His actions are in sharp contrast to that of Nigerian billionaires, who were not able to assist Nigerian athletes, after the government had shown little or no support for them.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man promised the Super Eagles $1 million after their 2013 African Cup of Nations win, but the money has not been disbursed to date.
As Tokyo 2020 closes in, we hope there’ll be a complete overhaul of the Nigerian Sports ministries and its agencies, so real heroes like these can be properly motivated and compensated.