Emmanuel Amuneke who scored the winning goal in Dream Team’s 3-2 victory over Argentina to earn Nigeria nay Africa the first ever Olympic soccer gold medal at Atlanta, USA in 1996 has revealed that the precious metal has been stolen.
The former FC Barcelona winger told Fifa.com Tuesday that the gold medal was stolen from his house in Lagos some years ago.
Amuneke who came on against Argentina in the 72nd minute to score the winning goal almost in the same manner he did against Zambia at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations final in Tunisia, remains unfazed despite missing the medal.
Now, he believes that Nigeria can re-enact the feat in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 20 years after his generation did so in USA.
“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,” stressed Amuneke who led Golden Eaglets class of 2015 to defend the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile late last year.
Despite the fears in the land over the lack of proper funding of the Dream Team VI preparation for the challenge at Rio2016, the ex international believes in the capacity of coach Samson Siasia to deliver.
“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 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,” observed the former Zamalek of Egypt winger.
He also recalled similar doubts about him at Atlanta ’96. “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.”
As part of Nigeria’s preparation for the Olympic football event, the Dream Team VI has been scheduled for a friendly with Brazil later in the year.