Nigeria’s hopes of winning the gold medal in the men’s football event of the Olympics may have been dashed by their 2-0 semifinal loss to Germany, but coach Samson Siasia says it’s not over yet and they’re determined to win bronze when they play Honduras on Saturday in the third place playoff.
Siasia was disappointed with his side’s performance on Wednesday against the Europeans, and the gaffer wants his side to learn from their mistakes when they play Honduras.
“We didn’t play well in the match [against Germany],” Siasia told Fifa.com.
“We’ve been playing better than what we showed against Germany. There were too many mistakes from us. The Germans are a very good side and they are tactically very, very sound.
“They were running behind and we couldn’t defend them. We did have chances in the first half to score but we didn’t utilise them. That’s what it is in football. If you get to this stage, you have to take your chances.
“All of that to say, we did not play well. It’s like the boys were sleeping right from the first half. But we take this one and hopefully we can go for the bronze medal.”
The Dream Team VI play Honduras at the Estadio Mineirao on Saturday with Siasia insisting his side still have a lot to play for.
“We still have something to play for,” Siasia continued.
“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.
“It is when you lose a game like this, it actually beats you down,” Siasia said. “That’s what life is all about. You have to be a man about it. Get yourself up together again and you still have something to play for.
“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.”
Nigeria came to the tournament in less than ideal circumstances after flight delays and administrative errors, but Siasia believes his side have fared well in Brazil.
“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.”