Jide Ogunbiyi On Cusp Of Olympics

July 21, 2008

SANTA CLARA - Santa Clara men's soccer senior Jide Ogunbiyi was featured in this Sunday's issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer as he and his brother, Tunde, look to make it past the final cut and on to the 2008 Beijing Olympics as part of the Nigerian soccer team.

From the Inquirer:

The phone call from the Nigerian Football Association came to the Ogunbiyi house in Gwynedd, Montgomery County. Out of the blue, a Nigerian soccer official wanted to know if two Ogunbiyi sons, Jide and Tunde, both graduates of Wissahickon High School, would try out for Nigeria's Olympic soccer team.

"I was shocked. I was really shocked," said Lai Ogunbiyi, Tunde and Jide's father. He took the call last summer. "Soccer in Nigeria is like a religion," he said.

And his American-born sons, two of them, could play the sport in the Olympics for his own native country. Two days after the phone call, Tunde Ogunbiyi, a backup goalkeeper at the University of New Hampshire entering his junior year this fall, left preseason college training and got on a plane for Nigeria. Jide, a starting forward entering his senior year at Santa Clara University, which competed in last fall's NCAA tournament, joined Nigeria's team at a later camp.

The brothers have held their own. They are in South Korea now, at a five-star Hilton resort on the coast, the only nonprofessionals still in the mix for Nigeria's team. If the Ogunbiyis make the final cut early this week, the products of Philadelphia's powerhouse PSC Coppa club program will find themselves in a first-round game Aug. 13 in Beijing Workers' Stadium against their native United States. Nigeria won Olympic gold in 1996 in Atlanta.

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