Rio Olympics: I want gold, not award —Etebo

The four goal-hero in the 5-4 victory of the Nigeria U-23 team against Japan, Oghenekaro Etebo has said his target is to help the team win the gold rather than pursuing the highest goal scorer’s  award.

Speaking at the post match press conference, Etebo who was given the match ball after the game, said: “Scoring all the goals in this competition and not winning the gold medal would have amounted to a waste of effort and that’s not my target. Yes, it would be great to see my efforts contributing to the success of the team, but if it will not lead us to the gold, then I don’t want it.”

Etebo further disclosed that the motivating factor in the team is coach Samson Siasia who has played the role of a father to the players even in times when they don’t believe they can do it, and added that the players are motivated to win for him.

Calling on Nigerians to continue to support them, the Portugal based marksman said they were happy to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians who they know were awake all night to watch them play against the Japanese.

Meanwhile, the Dream Team played an interesting first game at the Olympics to earn their first three points in Manaus on Friday.

Despite arriving late for their opening game of the Olympic Games, Nigeria outscored Japan 5-4 in Manaus courtesy of four goals from Etebo and the strike from Sadiq Umar.

The Nigerians were a late show for the tournament after flight delays meant that Samson Siasia and his team arrived in Amazonia less than seven hours to their first game at the Olympics, 20 years after they struck gold in Atlanta.

Yet, they did not look harried as they dispatched Asian Under 23 champions Japan in a game of nine goals that saw some naive defending early on as the first half ended with five strikes.

Attacker Sadiq, who had a very good game, put the Nigerians in the lead early in the sixth minute when he pounced on a rebound after goalkeeper Masatoshi Kushibiki had blocked a shot from Imoh Ezekiel.

Moments after the restart, Japan won a penalty when Stanley Amuzie’s tackle on Takumi Minamino inside the Nigeria box was deemed too strong.

Shinzo Koroki stepped up to take the spot kick and he slotted the ball past Emmanuel Daniel who dived the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Nigeria would also score immediately after the restart when an Abdulahi Shehu cross found Etebo inside the box, the midfielder escaped his marker to score for his first of the game.

Just as the game got back underway, Japan equalised via Minamino who was set off on a good run by Ryota Oshima who found the Nigeria back line wide open.

Proceedings then eased up as both sides found their defensive discipline with the frenetic pace of the game.

However, Nigeria would find another opportunity to score late in the first half as Etebo pounced on his own rebound to head into the Japan goal after Umar’s brilliant work inside the box created all manner of trouble for the defenders.

Five minutes into the second half, Umar once again showed his dexterity as he won a penalty after his heel was clipped by a Japanese defender.