Local newspapers Thursday hailed the qualification of Nigeria’s Under-23 national football team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, saying it paves the way for the country to repeat its gold-medal-winning feat at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The ”Dream Team IV”, as the team is known, beat its South African counterpart 3-0 in their last group A qualifier in the capital city of Abuja Wednesday to pick Africa’s third and last ticket to the Olympics.
”Taiwo, Anichebe give Nigeria Olympic ticket” was the headline in the Punch newspaper, in reference to the goals scored by defender Taye Taiwo and Victor Anichebe, the English premiership player who was making his debut for Nigeria.
”Nigeria’s U-23 lands in Beijing” (Guardian); ”Dream Team IV seals Beijing ticket for Nigeria” (Sun); Nigeria flies to Beijing, picks Olympic ticket” (The Nation) and ”Nigeria smashes South Africa 3-0, picks Olympic ticket” (Leadership) were some of the headlines.
Nigeria joined Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon as the three teams that will fly Africa’s flag at the Beijing Olympics.
In addition to its men’s team, Nigeria will also feature a women’s football team – Super Falcons – at the Games.
Nigeria became the first African nation to win an Olympic soccer gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, US. Panapress.