Sunday, 7 August 2016


By Lolade Adewuyi
The local organising committee of Rio 2016 has admitted that it played the wrong national when the Eagles faced Japan on Thursday and tendered an apology.

Nigerian egos were bruised during Thursday’s match against Japan in the Men’s Football Event of the 2016 Olympic Games when a wrong national anthem was played.

The Eagles looked confused when the strange tune came up over the Amazon Arena's public address system in Manaus, as a few players tried to find out what was going on.

The Daily Telegraph of Sydney wrote that “the Super Eagles had to look serious and emotional to a tune they had never heard before.”

Nigeria had arrived late for the game after failing to find a flight from their training base in Atlanta, USA, only for them to be welcomed by a wrong national song.

However, they went on to win 5-4 in a very interesting encounter despite jetlag and an odd anthem that could not demoralize them.

Goal has now gotten a statement out of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games apologizing for the unintended error.

“We understand hearing your national anthem during an Olympic Games is something nearly every athlete strives for. Therefore, we regret a wrong anthem was mistakenly played for Nigeria ahead of their match against Japan in the Amazon Arena. We sincerely apologize to the players and the Nigerian National Olympic Committee,” Rio 2016 organisers told Goal in an email statement.

International Media Manager Phillip Wilkinson informed Goal that the anthem played was that of Nigeria’s neighbour to the north Niger, which could explain why the mix-up happened.

There has been no statement from the Nigerian Olympic Committee.

This is not the first time a Nigeria anthem has suffered a mix-up in an international competition of such magnitude.

A Panapress report indicated that Nigeria officials accused Tunisia of destabilizing their players during a semi-final game at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations when it aired the old anthem “Nigeria we hail thee” instead of “Arise O Compatriots”. The hosts played the correct anthem at half time as they went on to win via penalty shootout.

At Copa America Centenario in the United States last June, organizers played the Chilean national anthem instead of the Uruguayan anthem during a group game with Mexico. The Uruguayans, who were without talisman Luis Suarez, lost 3-1.

In another major anthem gaffe, Canadians were left angry during a gold medal ceremony at the 1975 Pan-American Games when the English anthem “God Save the Queen” was played instead of “O Canada.”

Nigeria will play their second game of the competition against Sweden in Manaus on Sunday night at 11pm. They would expect the organizers to have the right anthem in hand.

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