Emmanuel Amuneke, a former Nigeria and FC Barcelona of Spain winger has exclusively told Complete Sports that his goal against Argentina in the epic final of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, remains his best career goal.
Nigeria’s U-23 national team, otherwise christened Dream Team 1, were locked in a 2-2 scoreline following Claudio Lopez (3rd minute) and Hernan Crespo ( 50th minute penalty) for Argentina and Nigeria’s goals by Celeatine Babayaro (28th) and Daniel Amokachi (74th).
Just a minute to the end of the match, a clever Amuneke reacted fastest when the Argentine defence made a hash of their offiside trap and shoot beyond Pablo Cavallero in goal for the South Americans , and handed Nigeria and indeed, Africa a first Olympic Games soccer gold medal.
As Nigeria and indeed Africa celebrated the historic achievement, much to the pain and frustration of the Argentines and South Americans, minds cast back to 1994, when in Tunisia, Amuneke in his maiden Nations Cup final duty for Nigeria’s Super Eagles, scored twice against the Chipolopolo of Zambia, thus, handing the West African football giants, Nigeria, her second Africa Cup of Nations title, 14 years after the famous maiden title haul on home soil in Lagos.
Now reputed with scoring title- winning goals, Amuneke has a record 54 career goals, 49 for clubs and nine (9) for country.
Now Sporting Director for El Missr Mikkasa, an Egyptian Premier League side, Amuneke finds it difficult to pin down his best career goal between his goals against Zambia in the 1994 AFCON final win and against Argentina – the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games gold medal match.
“I value both because they were all part of history making,” the one time Zamalek of Egypt winger responded when Complete Sports asked him which of the two title-wining goals he regards as better and most valued in his estimation.
“For me, both are important.
“But you can say Atlanta because it was an international event. It was a tournament never won before then by Nigeria or Africa as a continent.
“Yes, you are right, the Olympics gold medal is the biggest title Nigeria and indeed, Africa have won in global football and I’m glad to have been a part of it”.
As a coach, Amuneke guided U17 National Team, Golden Eaglets, to win the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile in 2015, after assisting Manu Garba to perform similar feat two years earlier in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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