Soccer might not be the most important occasion on the Olympics, however there have been some iconic moments on the Video games.
Top-of-the-line was when Nigeria shocked Argentina at Atlanta 1996 to develop into the primary African Olympic soccer champions.
The Nigeria facet was chock filled with gifted gamers – together with Premier League icons Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu.
And with the Olympics below means, we at talkSPORT.com thought it’s solely proper to mirror again 25 years and see how the Nigerians defied the percentages to assert gold.
Having edged previous Hungary and Japan of their opening two Group video games, the west Africans then misplaced 1-Zero to Brazil of their last Group D match in Orlando, Florida.
Nonetheless, they certified from their group and sailed into the following spherical with a 2-Zero defeat of Mexico within the quarter-finals.
Nigeria, nicknamed the ‘Dream Group’ by the hundreds of thousands supporting from the continent again house, would then face off in opposition to the Selecao as soon as extra in what was an epic semi-final.
“The Olympics in 1996 is likely one of the most improbable durations in my profession,” one other star of the crew, Taribo West, instructed the BBC in 2016.
“We had a crew that might match any on this planet.”
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The encounter in opposition to Brazil – who boasted the likes of Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos of their ranks – is one that may stay lengthy within the reminiscence of the Nigerian gamers.
However the Eagles obtained off to the worst doable begin with Flavio Conceicao scoring within the recreation’s very first minute and the half ending 3–1.
However Victor Ikpeba gave the west Africans hope within the78th minute.
It was when Jay-Jay Okocha fluffed the chance to equalise within the final minutes of regular time that the entire of Africa thought that the tie was over.
However two-time African footballer of the yr Kanu had totally different concepts.
The Arsenal icon scored a dramatic equaliser within the 90th minute earlier than demonstrating unimaginable calmness and finesse to attain the winner in further time and ship the Eagles’ bench wild.
They have been of their first last – however Dutch coach Jo Bonfrere knew that a good harder take a look at within the form of Argentina awaited within the last.
La Albiceleste had a star-studded crew with the likes Javier Zanetti and Hernan Crespo, and Diego Simeone off the bench.
The 81,100 showpiece noticed Nigeria consigned to the again foot within the opening levels – simply as they have been within the semi-final – as a Claudio Lopez purpose within the third minute gave Argentina momentum.
Celestine Babayaro equalised however Crespo, one of the crucial highly-rated younger forwards in Europe on the time, then scored a penalty within the 50th with the South People seemingly racing to an early victory.
Nonetheless, Nigeria’s never-say-die angle as soon as once more shone by way of and objectives by Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amuneke within the 74th and 90th minutes turned the tide in favour of the underdogs.
Again in Nigeria, the streets descended into delirium.
All-night events befell throughout the nation, with bars working out of beer and leaving their mills on until daybreak.
“There was one thing in our spirit that made us realise that we going to win, though we didn’t understand how,” defender Taribo West recalled.
“As quickly as Argentina obtained the primary purpose, we weren’t discouraged. Amunike was capable of give us the profitable strike.
“When [Italian referee Pierluigi] Collina blew that whistle, I simply collapsed on the sector and knew my dream had come true.
“My [gold] medal in is the financial institution abroad. It’s one thing to indicate to my youngsters.”