The former Super Eagles defender shares his memories of the West Africans’ Olympic glory in Atlanta in 1996
Before the 2020 Olympic Games final, Purpose presents the second part of our series that commemorates Africa’s and Nigeria’s best hour during the tournament, with the people who were there to tell the story.
In 1996, in Atlanta, Nigeria, becomes the first African team to win Olympic gold in the soccer competition – and indeed, there has never been a team from the continent that has surpassed a major men’s match before or since this triumph.
The performance of the Eagles in the United States will live forever in the memories of those who experienced it, not thanks to the living triumph against Brazil and Argentina in the semifinals and finals.
Names like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Celestine Babayaro will forever be remembered among the greatest of Nigeria, and their achievements will be indelibly hidden in the minds of those who witnessed their achievements.
This week on Purpose, we are delighted to speak to another of the legends of that side – defender Kingsley Obiekwu – as he sits down with Shina Oludare to discuss his memories of the remarkable triumph in Atlanta.
In part one of this series, the great Garba Lawal shared his memories of the glorious summer in the United States and now Obiekwu gives his opinion on Nigeria’s best hour.
The defender has already made the leap to European football, and played with the Dutch Go Ahead Eagles during the Olympics.
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 represent Al Ahli in Dubai and the Egyptian side Al Masry, between Enints Rangers.
He hung up his boots in 2006 after winning the last of his eight Nigeria matches in 1999.
The Olympics were the culmination of Obiekwu’s short international career, and he was unable to represent the West African giants at a major tournament, having been part of the legendary team that won the world at the 96 Games.
None of the representatives of Africa in Japan during the ongoing event were close to the performance of Nigeria.
While Ivory Coast and Egypt reached the knockout stages to fall behind Spain and Brazil respectively, South Africa’s and Zambia’s women’s team was eliminated in the group stage.