When Nigeria conquered the world, with Kingsley Obiekwu
Ahead of the 2020 Olympics football final, Goal present the second part in our series remembering Africa - and Nigeria's - finest hour at the tournament, with the people who were there to tell the tale.
In 1996, in Atlanta, Nigeria became the first African team to win Olympic gold in the football competition—and indeed, there has never been a side from the continent before or since who have surpassed this triumph in a major men’s competition.
The Eagles’ performance in the United States will live forever in the memories of those who experienced it, not least because of those vibrant triumphs against Brazil and Argentina in the semi-final and final.
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Names like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Celestine Babayaro will forever be remembered among Nigeria’s all-time greats, and their exploits will indelibly be emblazoned in the minds of those who witnessed their feats.
This week on Goal, we are delighted to speak with another one of the legends of that side—defender Kingsley Obiekwu—as he sits down with Shina Oludare to discuss his memories of that remarkable triumph in Atlanta.
In part one of this series, the great Garba Lawal shared his memories of that glorious summer in the United States and now, Obiekwu gives his take on Nigeria's finest hour.
The defender had already made the jump to European football, and was playing with Dutch side Go Ahead Eagles at the time of the Olympics.
He'd begun his career with Udoji United in his homeland, but never again represented a European club after leaving Eagles in 1998.
Obiekwu would go on to represent Al Ahli in Dubai and Egyptian side Al Masry, sandwiched between stints with Enugu Rangers.
He hung up his boots in 2006, having received the last of his eight Nigeria caps in 1999.
The Olympics represented the highlight of Obiekwu's brief international career, and he failed to represent the West African giants at a major tournament after being part of the legendary team that conquered the world at the '96 Games.
None of Africa's representatives in Japan at the ongoing event came close to matching Nigeria's feat.
While Ivory Coast and Egypt reached the knockout stages only to fall short against Spain and Brazil respectively, South Africa and Zambia's women's team were eliminated in the group stage.