Nigeria’s men’s team to Beijing Olympics, tagged Dream Team IV, is the prime target of Europe’s determination to end its 16-year gold medal drought in Olympic football.
Since Nigeria broke the monopoly of European teams winning the Olympic gold medal in 1996, the much coveted medal had eluded Europe.
The last European nation to win the Olympic gold is Spain, when it hosted the Olympics in 1992.
But Nigeria, in winning the Olympic gold at Atlanta ’96, did not just become the first African side to do so, it broke a 60-year monopoly of Europe on the Olympic soccer gold.
Since the 1936 games when Italy won the gold medal, it had consistently been won by Europe until Nigeria broke the monopoly, paving way for Cameroon to follow up in Sydney 2000 and Argentina at Athens 2004.
But in the event that Europe fails again, it already has an excuse.
Pierluigi Casiraghi, the manager of Italy said: “It is difficult to win at the Olympics when weather conditions are so different from Europe.
“It will be very difficult for a European side to win a medal here. But we are positive,” he added.
Apart from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon are also flying Africa’s flag at the games’ football event. Panapress .