Nigeria's footballers win Olympic opener hours after arriving in Brazil

The team were stranded in Atlanta for nearly three days

Nigeria's footballers win Olympic opener hours after arriving in Brazil

Nigeria's Imoh Ezekiel, left, celebrates his side's first goal, with his teammate John Obi Mikel . (AP Photo/Michael Dantas)

The buildup to the Olympic Games for Nigeria's footballers has been nothing short of shambolic.

Ahead of their opening game against Japan, the team only arrived in Manaus, hours before their kickoff against the Asian side. The team which includes Chelsea's John Obi Mikel began their day stranded in Atlanta's International Airport.

Nigeria based themselves in the American city before the Games began and were due to travel to Brazil on Tuesday afternoon. Hours before their scheduled flight, it was realised that the company who were due to fly the chartered plane were not paid and the flight was cancelled.

The following day, the team were due to fly again, but the new plane was deemed to be to small to carry the 18-man team and backroom staff. After days of not knowing whether the team could fulfill their opening game, they eventually arrived in Brazil hours before kickoff

Somehow, the team were able to compete despite their preparations being far from ideal and beat Japan 5-4. Oghenekaro Etebo scored four goals for the Super Eagles to shock their opponents and win their first game of the tournament.

Nigeria have a proud history in the Olympic Football Competition. In 1996, they were crowned Olympic champions, with the 2008 team winning silver in Beijing.

Their next game is against Sweden on Sunday in Manaus. where the team's preparation cannot be any worse than what they have endured in the past few days.