Olympic foes emerge for Nigeria U23s

Nigeria’s men’s under-23 national team have been drawn in Group B of the Olympic football for men alongside Sweden, Colombia and Japan.

The Nigerian under-23s, who won the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal, are up against Sweden, the champions of the tournament in Europe which provided the qualified teams including Denmark, Germany and Portugal.

The Europeans have won gold in the men’s football event in 1948.

Japan, who will be making their 10th appearance at the men’s football Olympics, emerged winner of the Asian qualifying tournament when they beat Korea Republic 3-2 after clawing their way back from two goals down.

The Blue Samurai’s best showing at the men’s football event of the Olympics remains a bronze-winning feat in 1968 when they defeated hosts, Mexico.

Nigeria’s third opponents in the group, Colombia, had to negotiate their way to the tournament through a two-legged playoff against the USA last month on a 3-2 aggregate. The Rio Olympic men’s football event is their fifth appearance.

Nigeria has won the gold medal in the men’s football event of the Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta and finished in second place in Beijing 2008.