2024 Olympics: Nigeria pay the price for failure as Premier League star makes France squad

Highly-rated winger Michael Olise, a target for the Super Eagles, has been named in France's provisional 25-man squad for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Crystal Palace youngster will join the French squad on June 16th for a pre-tournament training camp featuring friendlies against Paraguay, Dominican Republic, and Japan.

France, gold medalists in 1984, will face the United States, Guinea, and New Zealand in Group A. Their 2024 Olympics journey kicks off against the Americans on July 24th.

Nigeria's 2024 Olympics no-show

Nigeria's Olympics hopes were extinguished after a 2-0 aggregate defeat to Guinea in the Third Round of qualifying for the 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the tournament which served to put forward the continent's four Olympics representatives: Morocco, Egypt, Mali and Guinea.

Following a goalless draw in the first encounter, Nigeria fell to two second-half goals in the return, which was played in Rabat.

This marked a repeat of their failure to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when they did not advance past the group stage of the U-23 AFCON.

The sting of this disappointment is intensified by the news that 22-year-old Olise, a breakout performer for Crystal Palace in the Premier League, has been selected for France's U-23 squad.

Time for Super Eagles to bid Michael Olise goodbye?

While 1996 gold medallists Nigeria will be absent from this summer's Olympics, it now appears that Olise will be aiming for glory with France under the tutelage of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who currently manages the French U-23 team.

2024 Olympics: Nigeria pay the price for failure as Premier League star makes France squad

Olise has been a standout this season, racking up an impressive 10 goals and 5 assists in just 18 games. While Nigeria have been courting the young winger, his inclusion in the French setup suggests he might be leaning towards representing Les Bleus in the future.

Nigeria's inability to qualify for the Olympics raises questions about their youth development program and talent management within the national team structure. The failure to secure Olise, despite his eligibility, also highlights the need for a stronger strategy for attracting and retaining promising young players with stellar careers on the horizon.

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Toyosi Afolayan

Toyosi Afolayan is a sports journalist who breathes life into the games we love. He loves to combine insightful analysis with historical background, creating a richer understanding of sports. Afolayan's expertise ranges from captivating narratives to live broadcasts, captivating audiences across platforms like Ojbsport, AllNigeriaSoccer, TVC Entertainment, Bounce Networks, Kwara TV, ICIR, EaglesTracker, and NFF TV. His background in History and International Studies adds depth, revealing the connections between sports, politics, and national identity.