Nigeria’s U-23 football team will be in action once again on Wednesday as they take on Colombia in the final group B game at the ongoing Rio 2016 Olympics.
The Dream Team VI beat Sweden 1-0 last Sunday to retain top spot in group B and, more importantly, secure automatic qualification to the next round of the competition with a game to spare. Colombia, on the other hand, could only manage a 2-2 draw against Japan in their second group game despite being two goals up in the 65th minute.
Los Cafeteros as they are fondly called, need a victory in this match to be assured of qualification for the quarterfinals regardless of what happens in the other game between Sweden and Japan.
Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has stated that he intends to rest most of the team that started the last two games in an effort to keep them fresh for a possible clash against Brazil in the last eight.
According to Siasia: “I had to take this decision because we have qualified for the quarter finals as group leaders, and secondly I need to rest some of the starters because in the next phase there is a possibility of going into extra time, ” Siasia told thenff.com
“For now the boys have done well and I need to make the other players justify why I selected them for this tournament. This is not a tea party so everyone must stand up to be counted, and the only way they can be counted is if they play well against Colombia. Resting some starters does not mean we are underrating the opposition.”
Colombia, meanwhile, have been disappointing thus far despite being tipped to reach the latter stages of the competition by pundits. As it stands, they are second in Group B with just two points from two games but they are likely to need a positive result tonight in order to avoid going home early.
Teofilo Gutierrez is the team’s star player and he will be one of the key players to watch in this game having already scored two goals in the opening two matches.
Date: Wednesday, 10 August – 11pm Nigerian time
Venue: Corinthians Arena
City: Sao Paulo