Samson Siasia, the head coach of Nigeria’s Olympic team, the Dream Team, has described his players 5-4 victory against Japan in Olympic opener as a “miracle”.
The squad arrived Manaus from Atlanta, where they had gone for preparations, some five hours before the kickoff at the Amazonia Stadium.
Siasia said, “I just can’t describe what happened today. My boys defied science to win this game; what gave us this game was the mental toughness of the boys. For a team not to train for two days and put up this type of performance is a miracle. You know that when players are tired they tend to lose focus. That is why we conceded four goals. For now, all I can say is I just want to go and savour this victory with my players.”
The coach said the team has shifted focus to the next game, explaining that the win over Japan was “just the first step” towards winning the goal medal.
He said, “We just won a game, we can’t and won’t allow this victory get into our heads. Our target here is to win the gold and this is just the first step of us achieving that aim. No two games are the same, for me this hurdle is over, when I wake up tomorrow I will then think of my next game.”
Describing the Japanese side as a good side, Siasia added: “The team we defeated is a good side; I respect them for pushing my boys to the limit.”
Coach Siasia refused to speak on the issues that caused him and the team to arrive Manaus hours before the game, saying the team has put that behind them and are grateful to Delta Airlines for coming to the rescue of the team when they did.
Describing the nine -goal session as a spectacle, the 2008 Olympics silver –winning coach said: “I knew that towards the end of the game my boys were tired and barely managed to hang on. I will not blame any one of them for the goals we conceded. We have put this match behind us. I hope my team sustains this great form and even step up a gear in our subsequent matches.”