Ikpeba Recalls How Dream Team Went from ‘Useless’ to Olympic Champions 

Ikpeba Recalls How Dream Team Went from ‘Useless’ to Olympic Champions 

Femi Solaja

Former Super Eagles forward, Victor Ikpeba, has recalled  how Nigeria made history by becoming the first African country to win Olympic men’s football gold  after the Dream Team  were described by their own fans as “useless”.

“Our preparations before arriving in the United States weren’t particularly good. We lost to Togo in Lagos, and our supporters kept on saying we were useless,” Ikpeba told FIFA.com

“We landed in Tallahassee in Florida, where we faced some logistical problems. It wasn’t easy, but we kept believing thanks to the fact that we had a squad filled with top players like Austin Jay‑Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Taribo West.

The 1997 CAF African Player of the Year said winning Olympic Gold was a remarkable achievement.

“It was a truly unforgettable tournament. I was thrilled to take part in it, represent Nigeria and, in particular, to emerge victorious,” he said.

“When I look back on it, I realise just what an amazing achievement it was.

“We went on an extraordinary run by beating Mexico 2‑0 in the quarter‑finals, Brazil 4‑3 in the semis and Argentina 3‑2 in the final.

“I can picture myself 28 years ago with that gold medal dangling around my neck. I was ever so proud of that feat and to be a member of the very first African side to be crowned Olympic champions.”

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