Nigeria Under-23 coach Samson Siasia has confirmed he will rest some of his big-name players for the final Rio Olympics group game against Colombia “For now the boys have done well and I need to make the other players justify why I selected them for this tournament.
With six points in the bag on the back of victories over Japan and Sweden, Nigeria have already secured their place in the quarter-finals.
Their final Group B clash will be against Colombia at the Arena dos Corinthians on Wednesday, but Siasia is likely to leave out captain John Obi Mikel as well as Oghenekaro Etebo and Sadiq Umar.
“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,” he 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 under – rating the opposition.”
Meanwhile, Etebo is confident Nigeria can win the gold medal in Rio after their brilliant start to the Olympics.
“I believe we’re going to do it. I believe we’re going to get it right,”, the midfielder, who scored four goals against Japan, told Fifa.com.
He added: “I’m happy we’re topping the group, and I’m really happy about the goals. I didn’t expect it at all. I’m not going for personal glory but team glory which to me means winning gold. Without the gold, it’s going to be painful because achieving that is important for me, for Nigerians and for my team-mates.”
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