Nigeria Can Repeat 1996 Olympics Feat – Amunike

Amuneke2Emmanuel Amunike, Former Nigeria international says African U23 champions are capable of winning the 2016 Rio Olympics men’s football event.

Twenty years ago in the same competition, the Flying Eagles’ coach scored the winning goal that handed Nigeria the Olympic football gold medal in a thrilling 3-2 win against Argentina at the Sanford Stadium, Georgia.

This time around, Samson Siasia’s men will be hoping for a second triumph – allowing Amuneke to call upon some fond memories.

“Going into the tournament we had the self-belief that if we applied ourselves well we could do something great for ourselves and the country,” he told

“Don’t forget we had some players who featured for the senior national team at the 1994 World Cup.

“But beating Brazil boosted our confidence because it was a dramatic match. We were almost out, but we fought and pulled it off.

“Two days before the final, our coach, Jo Bonfrere, told me that some people were complaining that I was not playing at my best for the team.

“But in the match, he told me to stay warmed up and, as fate would have it, I scored the winning goal. So I was happy that when I came on, I contributed my own part to the team.”

Having watched the Dream Team VI lift the 2015 African U23 Championship in Senegal, Amuneke is confident that Siasia’s side can do well in Rio.

“We have to be realistic about our chances too. It is not going to be an easy task, but the coach (Samson Siasia) is experienced,” he continued.

“He was in charge when Nigeria won the silver medal in 2008 and also led the team to second at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in 2005.

“There is nothing to say Nigeria cannot repeat the feat of 1996. It was a beautiful thing that we laid the foundation and others have followed our path, and I think our current team can repeat that success,” he concluded.

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