Olympics: Remembering Nigeria's Dream Team that won gold in football 25 years ago

Olympics: Remembering Nigeria's Dream Team that won gold in football 25 years ago

Nigeria won Africa's first gold medal in football at the Atlanta 96' Olympic Games in the United States 25 years back.

The squad that achieved the historic feat were named the Dream Team which paraded quality players who plied their trades for top European clubs.

The Nigerian U23 side were grouped alongside Brazil, Hungary and Japan which many believed the Samba Boys were the only threat to the team.

Remembering the Atlanta 96' Dream Team that won gold in football
Atlanta 96' Olympic Dream Team won Africa's gold medal in football. Photo by Ruediger Fessel
Source: Getty Images

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How it all happened

As expected, Bonferere Jo's team recorded a back-to-back 1-0 win over the Europeans and the Asians but fell to the same scoreline as the South Americans.

Nigeria then marched on to play Mexico in the quarter-finals and goals from Celestine Babayaro and a deflce3ted shot from the boots of Austin Okocha won the game by 2-0.

The Dream Team's toughest test then came in the semi-final against Brazil, a repeat of the group game with the South Americans.

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The Samba Boys which Ronaldo de Lima, Roberto Carlos and Bebeto in their ranks went up by 3-1 and it looked over for the Nigerian side.

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Within two minutes of the game, Flavio Conceicao got his name on the scoresheet before Carlos scored an own goal from the boots of Babayaro.

A horrible error from goalkeeper Dosu Joseph gifted Bebeto an easy goal before Conceicao finished off a brilliant Brazilian team play to make it 3-1.

The game took a dramatic turn when Victor Ikpeba pulled one back with 12 minutes left on the clock before Nwankwo Kanu equalized in the 90th minute to send the match into extra time.

Three minutes into extra time, Kanu scored the golden goal as the team progressed into the final to face Argentina.

The Dream Team came from behind through Babayaro after Claudio Lopez had given the Argentines the lead in the third minute.

Hernan Crespo made it 2-1 from a spot-kick but Daniel Amokachi levelled parity in the 74th minute and a late winner from Emmanuel Amunike won Nigeria the gold.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that Austin Okocha was on this day back in 1998 signed to Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain shortly after the summer World Cup hosted by France.

The Super Eagles midfielder's performances at the Mundial created a leeway for him to sign for the French league side.

Jay Jay as he is fondly called put up a show at the World Cup in France despite Nigeria's inability of going beyond the second.

The mercurial midfielder single-handedly tore apart top teams that were contending for honours at the soccer fiesta.

Source: Sports Brief News