How Nwankwo Kanu conquered Brazil


They thought they had the game in the back already but that would not be so. The golden goal kicked off with both teams attacking each other. Brazil was particularly determined to carry the day with many attacks on the Nigerian box. The Eagles defenders did well to take everything the Brazilians threw at them and the moment which no Nigerian who witness the match would be in no hurry to forget finally came. And the man who was the architect of the moment was no other than the lanky striker Kanu Nwankwo.

During one of the attacks on the Brazilian goal, Kanu was lucky enough to find himself in position, he found himself in the 6 yard box in front of the goalkeeper and there was some kind of a rumble in the Brazilian box, the ball then fell to Kanu and he delightfully chipped the ball up and adjusted his body in a rather awkward position, before converting the ball with a half a volley sending the ball in between the legs of Roberto Carlos, finding the net. The sent the stadium to a rowdy celebration. Kanu Nwankwo Celebrated the goal running at the back of goal post and swinging his hand in an effeminate manner. The goal put an end to the Brazilian dreams of winning the Olympic tournament. The golden goal is such that, if a team scores a goal during the period after a game ends in a draw in regulation time, the team who is the first score in the extra time wins the game giving the other team no chance to play and see if they can draw level. The golden goal has since been scrapped by the Sepp Blatter led FIFA. The period is now replaced with Extra time which allows a period of first 15 minutes and second 15 minutes.

Notwithstanding, the game of football remains beautiful, One particular highlight of that game was when the Brazilian player cried profusely after the golden goal. After the semi-final match against Brazil, Nigeria went to the final of the competition where they pulled another milestone achievement to lift the trophy.

In the Final Nigeria were to face an Argentina team which were also one of the favourites of the tournament. Argentina had the likes of Ortega, Batistuta, Ayala and many more young players which would go on to make name for themselves in the beautiful round leather game. After the heroics in the semi-final game against Brazil, the underdog tag on Nigeria was quickly thrown out and people began to see the eagles as a top favourite to lift the trophy and they did exactly just that. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Nigeria were meant to suffer a similar scare like the semi final encounter but the eagles were on deck to take everything that was thrwn at then having been accustomed to similar situation in the previous match. The match began with the South American side taking the game to Nigeria. Argentina pressed Nigeria at the blast of the whistle, attacking Nigeria from left, right and centre with the Nigerian defenders doing particularly well to defend all that were thrown at them.

Celestine Babayaro who was playing from the left full back position particularly found it difficult to contain the young talismanic Argentine, Ortega. And as the game progressed, Argentina found the back of the net to take the lead. The game continued with the eagles attacking the argentines looking a goal to draw the game level. The eagles finally got the much-needed equalizer they have been searching for through an unlikely source, Celestine Babayaro. The defender got the goal with a delicious header from a set piece to draw the game at 1 – 1, while the goal was spectacular, the celebration from the defender was even more spectacular as he celebrated the goal in a fashion that has never been seen before in football. Celestine ran shook his shoulders as if he was having a seizure.  The celebration later became his trademark and kids who played street football in Nigeria celebrated in a similar way after finding the back of the net in street soccer.

Well the game continued with both teams exchanging attacks and the Argentines looking for all means to restore their lead and before long, the expected happened. Argentina had been the team that wanted the lead more having registered lots of attacks although Nigeria attacked too, their attack was nothing compared the Argentines.

The South Americans restored lead and they played with great aplomb as if all were but sealed. After taking the lead, they controlled the game with confidence and waited for the game to end. But Nigeria having been faced with a similar situation in the previous match knew exactly how to react in a similar situation. As the game approached it end, Nigeria took charge and attacked their opponent with the aim to restore parity and that was exactly what they achieved. Nigeria restored the lead in the dying minutes of the game through their striker.

The goal sent the crowd to a thunderous shout of jubilation. Parity is restored and the game is approaching the end of no more time. Are we going to see another golden goal? Would Nigeria have to face a similar situation as they did against Brazil? Who would win the match? Would Nigeria score a goal before the end? Or would Argentina win the game before the blast of the final whistle? All these thoughts were racing through the minds of spectators and supporters alike. Well, Nigeria has tried so far, there wasn’t much pressure on the African side No one gave the nod to go this far at the beginning of the competition while on the other hand, Argentina are under intense pressure given their status as the competition’s favourite. As the game approached the end of no more time, the unthinkable happened.


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