As part of preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games in men’s football, Nigeria’s U-23 team will face a stern test against a star-studded Brazil U-23 team in Thursday’s international friendly encounter at the at Estádio Kléber Andrade (Kléber Andrade Stadium), in Cariacica, Espirito Santo.
It will be their first meeting since both teams last met at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where the “Dream Team 1”, as they were popularly called triumphed 4-3 over Brazil in the semifinal before moving on to beat Argentina 3-2 in the final to win the gold medal.
Although, not considered a do-or-die encounter, an impressive performance for Nigeria will go a long way in motivating the confidence of the players that will be on parade.
This will be the 12th time Brazil and Nigeria will be meeting at any level. Brazil has beaten Nigeria seven times in eleven encounters so far. Nigeria have won two, while two games ended in a draw.
Some of the players that may feature in tonight’s match (11 p.m. local Nigerian time) played at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup where Nigeria lost 4-2 to the Samba youth team in the group stage.
Nigeria will bank on the prolific goal scoring of Taiwo Awoniyi, Victor Osimeh and Junior Ajayi while the Brazilians will rely on the services of Barca’s Rafinha, Bordeaux’s Malcom, Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira and Lazio’s Felipe Anderson.
Meanwhile, Birmingham City winger Viv Solomon-Otabor has predicted that the Dream Team VI will beat their Brazilian counterparts on Thursday night at Kléber Andrade Stadium.
“I think that Nigeria and Brazil are two great teams with very good players but I am confident that Nigeria will win and come out on top and do everyone proud,” Viv Solomon-Otabor said.
“The experience training with the squad was great and I trained to the best of my ability, and I enjoyed every second of it. Of course, I would like to be part of this team again but I have to be patient,” he added.