The Magnificent Journey Of The Nigerian Football Team To The Olympic Gold Medal Of 1996
Published: October 30, 2019
The Magnificent Journey Of The Nigerian Football Team To The Olympic Gold Medal Of 1996
The Olympics is undisputedly the biggest sports event in the world. Every country and its participants waits anxiously for 4 years so that they can participate in the Olympic and win a medal for their country. 

Although, qualifying and participating in the Olympics and representing the country is a matter of great pride in itself and every medal is historic, winning an Olympic gold is surely one of the best things that an athlete or team could ever dream of.

This Olympic gold has eluded the greatest personalities of sports and have often surprised UK online betting and other betters with the results. Even Roger Federer could not manage it in singles event.

Therefore, it means a lot to win an Olympic gold and if it comes as a surprise with some unpredictable results then that unpredicted winner has a moment of his lifetime.

The same happened to the Nigerian football team football team in Olympic of 1996. In this article, we are going to give you a glimpse of the journey that Nigerian football team went through in winning the Olympic gold of 1996.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympics were historic moment for Nigerian football team. Not only did they upset some of the biggest teams of the football in the world but they eventually came out to win the gold medal for the country.

Nigerian team was able led by the captain Kanu who had recently won the championship league with Ajax and he was full of confidence and the same reflected in the performance of the team.

The start

Despite a lousy start and with a bit of luck, they were eventually were able to hold their nerves at the right moment and went on to upset one of the biggest teams of the world and eventually won the historic gold.

The Nigerian team was placed in group D and there first game was with the Hungry. The game had occurred on 31st July 1996 where Nigeria were able to win 1-0 with the sole goal coming from there captain Kanu in the 44th minute.

The second game was probably their easiest game against the Japanese team. It was held on 23rd July 1996 and able to win convincingly 2-0 with Babangida and Okocha scoring in the later second half of the game.

Their first test and probably the toughest challenge came in the third match with Brazil and Nigerian team was obviously treated as underdogs. It happened on the 31st of July and Brazil were the favorites the class of Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo under its belt.

There were no surprises in the match and Nigerian team lost 0-1 with Ronaldo scoring in the 30th minute. However, Nigeria qualified by the goal difference and they were in the knockouts preparing for the quarter finals that was against Mexico.

The knockouts

The Nigerian team was full of confidence and enthusiasm as this was the first time they have ever managed to reach the knockout stage and now they have to deliver.

The match had lots of distant turns with Nigerian team being able to take the initial lead and then a couple of red cards shown to one each of the either team made it a bit rough but they were still able to win the match by margin of 2-0.

The big semi final

In the semi finals they faced Brazil yet again and the Brazilian team was all set to comfortably win this match as well. It happened on the 31st July with Brazilian team taking and early lead with Conceicao scoring in the first minute of the match.

However, Brazilian unfortunate to lose the lead with the self goal in the 28 minute and which leveled the score level at 1-1.

However this lead didn't last longer with Brazil scoring quickly in the 28th and 38th minute and took 3-1 lead, which lasted till halftime and it all looked at the end of the journey for the Nigerian football team.

The Nigerian team started the comeback in the 78th minute started the comeback with magnificent goal.  Captain Kanu came as a survival once again and was able to level the score in the 90tg minute, the final minute of the match!

This rejuvenated the Nigerian team and they looked all set to create an upset. The full time score was 3-3 and the match went on to the golden goal.

Now it was anybody's game and Nigerian team was able to keep their nerves and able to score the golden goal in the 94th minute with captain Kanu again doing the magic for them.

The Finale

The Nigerian team was into to the finals of the Olympic in the gold with Argentina in their way. The final was held on the 31st of August and they still had a very tough competition in the form of Argentina.

The Argentinean team was ably led by Daniel Passarella. The Argentinian team took the lead early in the match with Lopez scoring in the third minute. 

In the 24th minute the Nigerian team leveled the score at 1-1. Then, the Argentinean team was awarded a penalty and it made no mistake to convert that into goals and made his team ahead with 2-. In the 74th minute the Nigerian team just had few minutes level the score and they were actually able to do that with a superb goal scored by Amokachi equalises.

The time was running out and the magic happened in the 90th minute when Nigeria won a free kick and were able to convert that into a decider goal which led to their victory and gold in the Olympic gold.

The goal was scored by Amuneke in the final minute of the match and that proved to be decider and won the gold for the Nigerian football team in the Atlanta Olympics of 1996.

So this was the fabulous dream run of the Nigerian team in the Olympics of 1996. We hope you enjoyed reading this text.

Please let us know your opinion in the comment section. We anxiously wait for your feedback and we appreciate the time you spend reading this article.

Photo Credit :