EXCLUSIVE: Alex Iwobi wants to be part of Nigeria Olympic squad

The Arsenal youngster has praised the work of coach Samson Siasia for delivering Nigeria a ticket to Rio 2016

Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi wants to be a part of the Nigeria squad to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after failing to see the Super Eagles reach the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Coach Samson Siasia was the first person to invite Iwobi to the U23 collective ahead of qualifying for Rio 2016 but he could not take part due to his past with the English youth teams.

The 19-year-old eventually committed his future to Nigeria when he made his competitive international debut in the disappointing defeat to Egypt in last week’s Afcon qualifiers.

“It was a massive disappointment for the team that we did not qualify for the forthcoming Africa Cup Nations,” Iwobi told Goal after scoring in Saturday’s 4-0 win for Arsenal against Watford.

“The coaches and players worked so hard to gain the ticket but it's a shame we didn't get through. We conceded a late goal in Kaduna and unfortunately we were unable to convert our chances in the second leg in Egypt.”

The player who has been described as ‘special’ by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has turned his attention to Rio.

“I am looking forward to the forthcoming Olympics and if I am invited, I will do my best to make a meaningful contribution,” he said.

“I believe that Nigeria has a crop of excellent players who are capable of doing great things at the Olympics. Coach Samson Siasia deserves a lot of praise for securing a place for the nation at the Olympics.

“I do not have any regrets whatsoever in opting to play for Nigeria and will always do my best whenever I put on the green white green colours of Nigeria. I hope to be involved in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers too.

“I am very grateful to my team mates, the Nigeria Football Federation, coaches, the press and fans for the warm welcome I received following my decision to come home.

“Nigeria is a great footballing nation and deserves to assume her rightful place in Africa and world football and I am keen to be part of a team that achieves this goal,” Iwobi concluded.

Nigeria will head to the Olympic Games in August before playing their first 2018 World Cup qualifying game in October.