Thursday Jul 21, 2016. 21:35
After several wild speculations, AfricanFootball.com can exclusively reveal that Liverpool star Taiwo Awoniyi and Godwin Saviour did not make the final 18-man squad for the Rio Olympics.
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Awoniyi, Saviour as well as Sunshine Stars winger Stanley Dimgba and Kano Pillars goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed have only been named alternate players for the summer games which start on August 4 on Brazil.
Alternate players will be direct replacements for injured or unavailable players on the final squad but are not accredited for the tournament and do not have access to the official games village.
For the 1996 Atlanta Games, alternate players included Patrick Pascal, Ndubuisi Ndah and Abiodun Baruwa. Jonathan Akpoborie refused to stay back at the games.
Awoniyi has struggled with his form after he struggled to establish himself on loan at FSV Frankfurt, who were eventually relegated from the German Bundesliga 2.
But Dimgba’s omission comes as a huge surprise after some dazzling performances by the former Kwara United and Warri Wolves star at the U23 AFCON in Senegal last year.
As AfricanFootball.com first reported, the two over-aged players for the summer games are Chelsea star Mikel Obi and South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
Surprise inclusions are Belgium-based midfielder Sodiq Popoola and Roma striker Sadiq Umar.
Nigeria Rio Olympics 18-man final squad:
Daniel Akpeyi, Emmanuel Daniel
: Sincere Seth, Kingsley Madu, Saturday Erimuya, William Troost-Ekong, Ndifreke Effiong, Stanley Amuzie
Mikel Obi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Popoola Sodiq, Azubuike Okechukwu, Usman Mohammed, Shehu Abdullahi
: Umar Aminu, Imoh Ezekiel, Junior Ajayi, Sadiq Umar.
Taiwo Awoniyi, Yusuf Mohammed (Kano Pillars), Stanley Dimgba (Sunshine Stars) and Godwin Saviour