- Former Super Eagles player Wilson Oruma is sick and in critical condition
Many Nigerian fans still remember with glee that July 31, 1996 night, when Nigeria’s U-23 side overcame huge favourites Brazil, who paraded a star-studded side that had Ronaldo de Lima, Rivaldo, Bebeto, Roberto Carlos, Dida amongst others in the semi-finals of that year’s Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA.
In front of 78,587 fans at the Sanford Stadium, Athens, the Nigerians came from 3-1 down to win the tie 4-3 in extra time courtesy of captain Nwankwo Kanu’s Golden Goal.
Many of the fans also remember how Wilson Oruma’s pass from just after the halleway line to Victor Ikpeba erroneously landed on the back of the then Monaco forward’s back, rather than on his path.
Well, no problem. Kanu calmly collected the ball in front of the box, waltzed past his Brazilian marker before firing past Dida, in goal for the South Americans, to fire Nigeria to the final of the Olympics men’s football tournament for the first time ever.
Nigeria went on to beat Argentina 3-2 in the final to claim their first football gold at the global sports showpiece.
Twenty seven years after that triumph, a lot has happened to Oruma, one of the heroes of that historical triumph.