A Recap to Atlanta, 1996. In 1996, Nigeria made Olympic football history by becoming the first African and non-European and South American team to win the gold medal.
The semi-final of that historic football tournament was between Nigeria and Brazil in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America.General Sani Abacha was Nigeria’s Head of State. Johannes Bonfrère was the Chief Coach of the Dream Team, and Kanu Nwankwo was fully on ground as the Captain of the team.
Brazil was the king of global football and they knew it. So, Nigeria losing to Brazil that night would not be a big deal.As expected, Brazil dealt with us that night. Till around the 77th minute–about 12 minutes to the end of the game, Brazil was still dominating the game.
The scoreline was Brazil 3, Nigeria 1.While the football tournament remained primarily an Under-23 competition, each of the 16 competing countries was allowed to use as many as three overage players in a compromise between FIFA and the International Olympic Committee. Despite the Brazilian squad including star names such as Carlos, Rivaldo, Bebeto, and Ronaldo, Nigerians watching the game still think Nigeria did not deserve such humiliation by the Brazilian Team, we had been beaten mercilessly.
Towards the end of the match, some Nigerians became sad and depressed; many had turned off their television sets, some were shedding tears, while few hoped and prayed that we should not be further disgraced with yet another goal.
But the unimaginable happened in the game.Nigeria finally woke up in the 78th minute as Victor Ikpeba scored from 20 meters.
As time was running out, everything changed beyond the 3:2 score line. Pressure came upon Brazil and hope for the Nigerian players, they became more motivated and began to fire shots from every angle.
Then another miracle, at the 90th minute, just before the final whistle, Kanu Nwankwo turned and flipped the ball over Nélson de Jesus Silva, better known as Dida―the Brazillian goalkeeper and it was another goal, the equalizer.
What a wonderful match
.There was a rule then, “the Golden Goal”, That the first team to score in the extra time wins the game. Then came the decisive goal from Papilo― Kanu Nwankwo just 3 minutes into the extra time.
As if trying to top themselves, during the finals between Nigeria and Argentina, the Nigerian Dream Team staged another miraculous comeback against Argentina in the gold-medal match in front of 86,117 spectators in the Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia.
The Argentines held a 2-1 advantage on goals by Claudio Lopez (third minute) and Hernan Crespo (tournament-best sixth goal on a penalty kick in the 50th minute) before our team equalized on Daniel Amokachi’s shot in the 74th minute. With a minute remaining, Emmanuel Amunike pulled off some 11th-hour heroics as he took advantage of a botched offside trap and beat goalkeeper Pablo Cavallero from point-blank range for the winning goal in a 3-2 triumph.
“I guarantee you that as I talk to you now, everyone in Africa is celebrating,” forward Sunday Oliseh said. “There is no sleeping tonight. Everyone will be happy. This is for all the African countries.”And that was how a messy game became a message in living memory.
One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we become ungrateful. We let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to HIS goodness it becomes a routine. ― Joel Osteen
A lot can still be done this year to make it a glorious year, the remaining part of the year is sufficient to define the whole year. Don’t lose hope now. It is too early to give up on your beautiful plans and expectations for this year.
It’s our faith that activates the power of God. ― Joel Osteen
The remaining days of this year surely will be your best days of this year. It is not over until it is over, wipe off the mid-night tears as your JOY shall certainly come in the morning.
I think of all the thousands of billions of steps and missteps and chances and coincidences that have brought me here. Brought you here, and it feels like the biggest miracle in the world. ― Lauren OliverAs we journey this month of June, God of a new beginning will show up speedily in all that concerns you by HIS Grace.
Let’s keep hope and faith alive. Don’t give up before the miracle happens. ― Fannie Flagg You will not miss it again
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