Updated: It turns out Nigeria's plane was too small.
They'll now fly out commercial at 7am and arrive in Brazil with just five hours before kickoff of their first match of the Olympics. Unbelievable.
UPDATE: Nigeria U23 flight cancelled. Aircraft too small. Will now fly at 7AM tomorrow. FG hires Delta Airline for team #StrandedDreamTeam— Colin NOT Collins (@ColinUdoh) August 3, 2016
Chelsea's veteran midfielder, John Obi Mikel, is off on international duty with the Nigeria men's Olympic team. The Super Eagles are scheduled to have their first match of the tournament against Japan on Thursday, however, the team still hasn't even left Atlanta, the city where they held their pre-tournament training camp.
The whole debacle stems from the Nigerian Sports Ministry not organizing the team's transportation from Atlanta to Manaus, the location of the team's first match. According to Collin Udoh, one of the preeminent sources of Nigerian football, the government sent the payment but it was not received in time due to a time difference issue.
UPDATE: Ministry official says initial payment for Nigeria U23 team flight was made to a Seattle account #StrandedDreamTeam 1/— Colin NOT Collins (@ColinUdoh) August 3, 2016
2/ Because Seattle is 3 hours behind ATL, payment did not show. Second, instant payment has now been made #StrandedDreamTeam— Colin NOT Collins (@ColinUdoh) August 3, 2016
All while this is going on, a player revolt has happened according to allnigeriasoccer.com. The upset players have possibly abandoned the leadership and are now following the guidance of Mikel. Although, other reports have refuted the claims of player unrest, so who knows how accurate that may be.
Thankfully the team is finally off to the airport just 28 hours ahead of their opening match.
With the 10-hour flight, the Nigerian team will arrive in Manaus with no more than 18 hours until kickoff. Not exactly the ideal scenario to kick off your run for a gold medal.
It sounds like Mikel was the glue that held the team together during these hectic few days. Who knows what would've happened had he not been there to help them through it all.