No problem with Iwobi missing Olympics – Siasia

Nigeria national U23 coach, Samson Siasia, says he has “no problem” with Arsenal starlet, Alex Iwobi, missing this summer’s Olympic in Rio de Janeiro.

Iwobi, 20, was named in Nigeria’s 35-man provisional squad to the showpiece billed for August.

But the forward, alongside Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho could be absent from the Dream Team VI squad to Brazil due to club commitments.

The quadrennial event is held outside the FIFA calendar – meaning clubs are not obliged to release their players especially as the European leagues is around the corner.

And Siasia, whose team is currently in Atlanta, United States of America (USA), insists Iwobi’s absence won’t affect his “love” for him.

“I’ve no problem with a boy I love like a son for missing out,” Siasia told BBC Sport from the USA.

“I think some people in the media just love to sensationalise and fabricate stuff.”

“He’s a smart, passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated boy but the fact that it’s not a Fifa tournament Arsenal are within their rights to stop him.”

Iwobi was a revelation last term, scoring twice in 21 appearances to help Arsene Wenger’s team to second place in the Barclays Premier League.

Siasia expects the youngster to continue his rich vein of form at the Emirates which would benefit the nation in years to come.

“Alex has a chance to establish himself in the Arsenal first team and if he could manage that this season then it will outweigh the potential gold medal,” Siasia added.

“His father [Chuka Iwobi] has made strong efforts, the boy has done his bit as well to be with us but Arsenal pays his wages and makes the calls.

“His progress and success at club level will only benefit Nigeria ahead of the World Cup qualifiers, I want people to lay off Alex and rally support for the team in Rio.”

Meanwhile, Iwobi’s agent, Emeka Obasi, admits the player would have benefited immensely from the Olympics but he is certain, there will be another chance in the future.

“We held talks with Arsenal to see if it would be possible but in the end the decision has been made and we just have to move on from it,” Obasi told BBC Sport.

“Of course I think Alex would have gained a lot from a competition where the likes of Barcelona’s Neymar want to play in. I’m sure the standard will be high and as I said Alex was keen to go, but it’s not his decision to make.

“I’m sure there will be another opportunity to represent Nigeria at the Olympics in future.”

Nigeria are drawn in Group B alongside Sweden, Colombia and Japan.