Femi Solaja with Agency reports
African champions Nigeria against all expectation avoided the likes of host, Brazil and another potential winner, Argentina to secure a fair draw as Coach Samson Siasia lads have been drawn against Sweden, Japan and Colombia in the Rio Olympics first round held yesterday in Brazil.
Incidentally, both Sweden and Japan just like Nigeria will be in Brazil as continental champions.
Sweden is the European tournament winners while Japan won the Asian version of the qualifiers. Colombia defeated USA in an intercontinental playoff to qualify for the Rio football showpiece.
Nigeria will begin the quest for glory at the event on August 4 with the group match against Japan at the Amazonia Arena in Manus after Sweden and Colombia kick off the race in the group.
Three days later, precisely August 7th, at same stadium, Nigeria will take on Colombia while the last group match will come up on August 10th against Sweden in Salvador at the Fonte Nova Arena.
Nigeria’s Dream Team won a historic Olympic gold in 1996 and was beaten by Argentina in the gold medal match at Beijing 2008.
Just like it happened four years ago, Nigeria’s female team failed to make the cut to the women’s football event of Rio2016.
The Olympic Football Tournaments will have a total of 58 matches, with 32 for the men, and 26 for the women.
Host Brazil will open their quest for gold medal feat in the men’s event with opening match against South Africa on August 4th at the Estadio Mane Garrincha in Brasilia while their women play China a day earlier at the Estadio Olimpico in Rio de Janeiro.
RIO2016 DRAW MEN
Group A: Brazil, South Africa; Iraq; Denmark
Group B: Sweden; Colombia; Nigeria; Japan
Group C: Fiji; Korea Republic; Mexico; Germany
Group D: Honduras, Algeria, Portugal, Argentina
Group E: Brazil, China, Sweden, RSA
Group G: USA, New Zealand, France, Colombia
Group F: Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, Germany