Nigeria handed punishing Olympic football travel schedule in Manaus

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The Nigeria U23 football team has been handed a tough schedule at the 2016 Olympic Games where they will play their first two group matches in Manaus, the far-flung capital of the Amazonas State.

The Dream Team is drawn in Group B alongside Sweden, Colombia and Japan.

They will take on Japan in their first game on August 4 at the 41,000-seater Arena da Amazonia. Sweden and Colombia will play the group’s first game.

Three days later on August 7, Samson Siasia’s team will take on Sweden at the same venue while Colombia and Japan will play later in the day.

Nigeria will then travel 3,875km to Sao Paulo (that’s twice the distance between Lagos and Maiduguri) for their last group game against Colombia at the Arena Corinthians on Wednesday August 10 while Sweden and Japan will travel 2605km to Salvador for their final game.

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Manaus, the only host city in northern Brazil, is situated at the confluence between the Negro and Solimoes rivers. And it is five hours behind Nigeria, meaning that matches will take place very late in the night or early morning next day.

It was one of the host cities of the 2014 World Cup, and amid complaints of the heat played host to matches between England and Italy, Cameroon and Croatia, USA and Portugal and Honduras and Switzerland.

With temperatures rising to 37 degrees, Manaus was the scene of the first official World Cup water break in the game between Portugal and the USA on June 22, 2014.

For journalists and Nigeria fans hoping to travel to the games, it will take four hours by domestic flights from Rio de Janeiro or almost 56 hours of road travel.

Nigeria’s match schedule below:]

August 4

Nigeria vs Japan

Venue: Arena da Amazonia, Manaus

21:00 (2am Nigerian West African Time WAT, August 5)

August 7

Sweden vs Nigeria

Venue: Arena da Amazonia, Manaus

18:00 (11pm Nigerian WAT, August 7)

August 10

Colombia vs Nigeria

Venue: Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo

19:00 (11pm Nigeria WAT, August 10)

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