Olympic Games Important as AFCON, World Cup – Ikpeba


Playing to qualify for the Olympic Games men football event deserves more commitment from Players and the Coaches, says Atlanta 1996 Olympic winner Victor Ikpeba.

Ikpeba decried Nigeria’s struggle to qualify for the event any more and argues that the lack of dedication on the part of subsequent teams and football administrations hinders the Country.


In 1996, Nigeria won Africa’s first major international football laurel at the Simmer games, and though the U23 Eagles went close at the 2008 (silver) and 2016 (bronze), its performance since has been largely disappointing and progress not sustained.

This month, the U23 Eagles were edged out by Guinea for a place at the Cup of Nations, and Ikpeba warns of the long term consequences.

“We are no longer taking the Olympics football tournament seriously back home and I don’t know why,” Ikpeba told FL.

“Olympics football has given Nigeria glory and so much respect, it has given a lot of joy to Nigerians and Africans.

“It is something we need to take very seriously together with the World Cup and the AFCON.”

“I will appeal to the Federal government, the Federal Ministry of Sports and the NFF to put more emphasis on the Olympics, so the boys that go out there to compete must know the importance of the Olympics, because it is neither the Ministry nor NFF that will play.

“The players must know the importance of going out there and competing and qualify.

“They must be inspired to win a medal, it is a global event. The Olympic games is not just about football, there are all sports involved, so it makes it very unique. We need to educate our players too, whenever they have the opportunity to compete; to qualify for the Olympics, they should take it seriously, they can make a name for themselves with it, it is really sad [how the Country has struggled].”


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