Memories of the success recorded by Team Nigeria cannot be forgotten in a hurry, when the Kanu-Nwankwo captained dream team conquered the world, sending power-house Brazil out in the semifinal of the men’s soccer event, and going on to beat Argentina 3-2 in the final. While Chioma Ajunwa on the other hand, won Nigeria’s first Olympic gold in athletics.
Its 20 years after now, and Team Nigeria is set for another adventure in Rio City of Brazil in South America, with Coach Samson Siasia promising to win nothing less than gold in men’s football, after winning silver in his debut at the Olympic in 2008. The make-up of the star-studded squad that conquered the world in Atlanta seems to be missing in this team.
Celestine Babayao’s leg-over in the 18-yard box, that gave room for Nigeria’s first goal against Brazil in the semifinal can only be found in Real Madrid’s left-back Marcelo. Austin Jay-Jay Okocha’s throw into the 18-yard box of the Brazilian’s that was converted into goal by Kanu Nwankwo still makes me wonder when last Nigeria ever scored through a throwing, let alone the amazing two-touch that Kanu Nwankwo made and converted into the goal that became the golden-goal, giving Nigeria first Olympic gold in soccer.
Somewhere in an unknown and secret arrangement, former Green Eagles forward, Chief Segun Odegbami breathed life into Chioma Ajunwa’s Olympic plan, converting the Police officer into an Olympic gold medalist. Giving Nigeria her first ever gold in an Olympic. One can begin to wonder if we have such kind of philanthropist again, who can see prospect in an athletes an ensure that the hope of the athlete and the image of the nation sees the light in the Olympic.
As Team Nigeria is set to do the nation proud in the Rio games, I begin to wonder if the previous achievement we made 20 years ago can still be achieved going by the preparations that we have now. It would be wonderful if we replicate such, but preparations is key for such dreams to be realized.