As Nigeria confront Honduras in the Rio Olympics bronze medal match today in Belo Horizonte, Coach Samson Siasia has said his team would not return to their country without the bronze medal.
“We still have something to play for,” Siasia said. “We didn’t deserve to win against Germany with the way we played, so we should just forget about it and look forward to the next one and at least we will try to have the bronze medal going back home.
“You’re better off having a bronze medal than not having anything at all. That’s the only way we can motivate them and it’s going to be very, very tough. They wanted to go to Rio but you need to earn it to go there.”
Honduras will present a different challenge than Germany from a tactical perspective, but make no mistake, Los Catrachos will be hungry to respond positively after a disappointing outing in Rio de Janeiro against Brazil.
“We need to play [against them]the same way we’ve been playing,” Siasia said. “There were too many mistakes and against a German side like we came up against, if you don’t utilise your chances, it becomes a problem and that’s what actually happened. It was a learning experience. We’re all learning every day.”
Nigeria started Rio 2016 full of energy and promise with a thrilling 5-4 win over Japan and then a 1-0 victory against Sweden. They fell 2-0 to Colombia in their final group stage match but they were already guaranteed a first-place finish before that game. In their quarter-final against Denmark, Nigeria looked comfortable and shored up their defence to win 2-0 before coming up against Germany.
“We’ve been very great. The mentality has been right. What did we want? We wanted the gold medal and that’s what we were shooting for. They came out without reservation and went all the way and tried to see if they could get it.
“Everything in life is a learning process. If you find yourself at a stage like this again, you want to do better. It’s all about the bronze now. You don’t want to go home without anything.”