Nigerian legend and former Super Eagles midfielder Austin Jay-Jay Okocha has revealed what Daniel Amokachi told him after penalty missed in the semi-finals match against the Samba Boys of Brazil in Atlanta 96.
The game taught the Brazilian a great lesson for under rating the Super Eagles in the Olympics tournament held in Atlanta in 1996.
The Score Nigeria recalls, It was do or die affair as the Samba Boys were leading Nigeria 3-1 in the half time, the second half of game kicked off and Nigeria has a glorious chance as referee awarded a penalty for them. Jay-Jay Okocha took the penalty and it went straight to the hand of Brazil’s goalkeeper Dida. Amokachi was not happy with the way Okocha played the penalty kick as he rumble some words to him.
“Hadn’t been that we lost the game I will not forgive u Jay-Jay, because the match is my dream to win and get to the final and stun Argentina, but thank God we taught Brazil a great lesson. Thank you Papilo without you in the team we won’t have won the game”, Daniel Amokachi said.
The partnership of Ronaldo and Bebeto upfront was causing Nigeria no end of trouble, but there was brief respite when a switch of play found Babayaro one on one with his marker. His fizzing cross-shot was turned into his own net by Roberto Carlos.
From that point in the 20th minute to the final 15 minutes was unalloyed pain.
First Bebeto tapped in after Dosu had got a hand to Ronaldo’s shot, and then Conceicao got his second of the afternoon after a quick one-two on the edge of the box.
Brazil were almost toying with their opponents now, cutting the defence to ribbons almost at will; indeed, the 3-1 scoreline induced a peculiar complacency in the South Americans.
The overworked and under-skilled Garba Lawal had spent the first half chasing shadows in the centre of the park, but found more time and space as the intensity dropped. Victor Ikpeba, on as a sub at the break, struck back on 78 minutes, sparking one of football’s most memorable one-man sorties.
The tie would turn on Kanu’s brace as decisively as he spun on his heels for the first, seizing on a scramble in the box to smuggle the ball past a crouching Dida. There was no sleight of foot to the second though, an emphatic finish on his weaker foot, a golden goal that paved the way for a gold medal.
To win against Brazil was splendid. To do so in a seven-goal thriller, having been two goals behind for over 50 per cent of the tie was surreal, and spawned some of the iconic images of that summer: Bebeto, teary and in abjection; Kanu, eyes closed in rapture, arms raised triumphally.