The ex-Super Eagles defender shares his memories of West Africans Olympic glory in Atlanta in 1996
Before the soccer finals of the 2020 Olympic Games gate present the second part of our series about Africa – and Nigeria – the most beautiful hour of the tournament, with the people who were there to tell the story.
In 1996, Nigeria became the first African team to win Olympic gold in a football competition in Atlanta – and in fact, never before has a team on the continent topped this triumph in a major men’s competition.
The performance of the Eagles in the USA will be remembered forever by those who saw it, not least because of the brilliant triumphs against Brazil and Argentina in the semifinals and finals.
Names like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, and Celestine Babayaro will forever be remembered among Nigeria’s all-time greats, and their exploits will be indelibly imprinted on the minds of those who witnessed their accomplishments.
This week on gate, we’re excited to speak to another legend on the team – defenseman Kingsley Obiekwu – as he sits down with Shina Oludare to share his memories of that remarkable triumph in Atlanta.
In the first part of this series, the great Garba Lawal shared his memories of that glorious summer in the United States and now Obiekwu is telling us about Nigeria’s most beautiful hour.
The defender had already made the leap into European football and was playing for the Dutch Go Ahead Eagles at the time of the Olympic Games.
He started his career at Udoji United in his home country, but never represented a European club again after leaving the Eagles in 1998.
Obiekwu would continue to represent Al Ahli in Dubai and the Egyptian team Al Masry, which was stuck between appearances at the Enugu Rangers.
He hung up his shoes in 2006 after receiving the last of his eight caps for Nigeria in 1999.
The Olympics marked the culmination of Obiekwu’s short international career and he failed to represent the West African giants in a major tournament after being part of the legendary team that conquered the world at the 1996 Games.
None of the representatives of Africa in Japan at the current event came even close to the performance of Nigeria.
While the Ivory Coast and Egypt reached the knockout round, only missing against Spain and Brazil, South Africa and Zambia’s women’s team were eliminated in the group stage.