FIFA Recalls Dream Team Atlanta ’96 Glory

Nigeria against odds won the Olympic gold medal this day 22 years ago

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Dream Team celebrating their gold medal achievement at the Olympics in 1996 | Goal

World football governing body, FIFA has made a flashback to August 3, 1996 that Nigeria ruled the world at the Olympics in Atlanta, USA. The feat 22 years ago by the Dream Team remains Nigeria’s best-ever in football.

It was one of the most surprising achievements in the sport as the team overcame what are usually considered much stronger teams, such as Brazil and finally Argentina to earn the gold.

A tweet to the world on Friday on FIFA.com official handle goes thus: #OnThisDay in 1996, 🇳🇬 @NGSuperEagles came from behind to beat Argentina 3-2 and take gold in a thrilling @Olympics final 🥇

Goals from Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amunike toppled Claudio López and Hernán Crespo Argentina’s.

The match played in front of over 86,000 fans at the Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia in USA opened the eye of the world to the talents Nigeria beget.

“Nobody thought the Nigerian team was going to win,” says Athelia Knight, the Pulitzer Prize finalist who covered that final game for The Washington Post. “I was on deadline and I had to get to the team to get some quotes. And they were too busy celebrating with Nigerian supporters.”

Back home, where the game was broadcast around midnight local time, Nigerians poured into the streets, erupting in a bash that went on for days.

Brazil’s Roberto Carlos (Left) vying for the ball with Nwankwo Kanu in the semi final

‘Argentina is good; Nigeria is gold!’ – Dream Team captain, Kanu

“Argentina is good,” Kanu declares after the match. “Nigeria is gold!”

The heroes are Abiodun Obafemi, Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amunike, Emmanuel Babayaro, Garba Lawal, Joseph Dosu, Nwankwo Kanu, Kingsley Obiekwu, Mobi Obaraku, Uche Okechukwu, Sunday Oliseh , Taribo West, Teslim Fatusi, Tijani Babangida, Victor Ikpeba and Wilson Oruma.

The triumphant squad lifting coach Jo Bonfrère shoulder high. Bonfrère was assistant to Clemens Westerhof at USA 1994 FIFA World Cup | PHOTO CREDIT: Goal

 

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