Chelsea star Mikel has restated Nigeria Olympics team’s resolve to win Olympic gold 20 years after the original Dream Team recorded such a feat in Atlanta, just as he was refunded the cash he paid to free the team from a Sao Paulo hotel.
“We are all very excited reaching the semi-finals but the ultimate is the gold medal and as the coach has said, we are still taking it one match at a time,” said captain Mikel, who scored Nigeria’s first goal against Denmark for Nigeria to go on and win 2-0 and qualify for the last four.
“My objective here, as with each of the other players, is to win the gold medal.”
The Chelsea star revealed they have tried to put behind them all the drama and controversies that have surrounded the team lately.
“In truth, there have been a lot of challenges, but every time we go onto the field, we forget about everything and make sure our fatherland comes first,” he said.
“We have done that so far and we will continue to do that, but we need more motivation.”
Meanwhile, according to an official statement by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the ministry of youth and sports has refunded to captain Mikel the $4,600 he paid for the team in São Paulo on their way to Salvador.
This is contrary to an earlier statement by the ministry that Mikel did not bail out the team.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Chinyeaka Ohaa, praised the team.
“I am happy to be a Nigerian, because in spite of all the challenges, you have taken the world by storm; you have by your performance given happiness to more than 160 million Nigerians,” he remarked.
“Football is the biggest unifying factor in Nigeria today. From Mr. President to the average Nigerian you have made everyone proud.
“I am humbled by your efforts, your commitment, your patriotism. I want to assure you that your sacrifices will not be in vain.
“Aside whatever the NFF have for you, we will as much as possible make you happy, if only you will be patient with us. Today, with your performance, I am convinced that you will get that gold.”