The Nigeria Football Federation has rated the recent performance by Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as one of the best in the history of the country.
This is as the football federation failed to qualify the Super Eagles and Super Falcons for Tokyo 2020 despite football being Nigerians favourite sport with a historic Olympic gold the pinnacle of its success.
The country of 210 million people made history 25 years ago when their football team struck gold in Atlanta at the expense of top-rated Argentina, the first Olympic title won by an African team.
But for the Tokyo Games, both the men and women’s football teams failed to qualify; with 11 athletes disqualified at the games over officials’ negligence.
However, the country won two medals – bronze and silver – to rank 74th in the overall medal table amid a shortage of jerseys, and controversy over SAMSUNG phones at Tokyo 2020.
In a statement, the football federation also congratulated sports minister Sunday Dare for a “commendable” out at Tokyo 2020 Olympics and lambasted the immediate past sporks minister Solomon Dalung for a woeful Rio 2016 outing, where Nigeria won only a bronze.
The statement read, “The Nigeria Football Federation has felicitated with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the person of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare on Nigeria’s outing at the 32nd Olympics which ended in Tokyo, Japan few days ago.
“Nigeria earned one silver and one bronze medals from the Games, with a slew of promising performances as a number of athletes reached the final of their events. For the first time since 1996, a Nigerian athlete was in the final of the glamour event of the Games – the men’s
100m sprint. Young hurdler Oluwatobiloba Amusan narrowly missed netting a medal as she finished fourth in the women’s high hurdles final.
“The Nigeria contingent may not have returned with the harvest of medals that many hoped for, but there are bright lights all around and some brilliant individual performances that give hope for the next Games in Paris. At the end of the day, the silver and bronze medals earned in Tokyo make the just-ended Olympics Nigeria’s best outing in13 years. That is commendable.
“The Sports Minister, in his personal capacity, and the Ministry of Sports as a body worked their socks off. The Honourable Minister was exemplary; he explained, encouraged and empathized with the athletes as necessary and led the cheer at most of the venues where Nigerian athletes competed.
“He is such a wonderful breath of fresh air from the immediate Minister of Sports who rather constituted himself into a bulwalk and divisive force against Nigerian athletes at the last Olympics in Brazil. We do not wish to recall his inglorious remarks against the football team when the team was camping in the USA. That football team eventually ended up winning Team Nigeria’s only medal – a bronze – at the Games.”