Wednesday Aug 04, 2021. 16:00
Legendary midfielder Sunday Oliseh says Nigeria had the ‘ingredients’ to win the 1994 World Cup which was hosted by the United States of America (USA).
The West African giants ,which were under the guidance of Dutch coach Clemens Westerhof, qualified for the World Cup for the first time after defeating Ivory Coast and Algeria during their qualifying campaign.
The Super Eagles finished at the top of Group D in the USA, but they were eliminated by eventual runners-up Italy in extra-time in the Round of 16, with Oliseh playing the entire match.
“I still think we had the potential to win that year,” Oliseh told FIFA’s website
“All the ingredients were there, but the overall circumstances weren’t in our favour. At any rate, it had nothing to do with our squad, which had the talent to go all the way.”
Oliseh was then part of the Nigeria team which stunned the whole world by winning gold at the 1996 Athens Olympic Games, as they defeated a much-fancied Argentina side 3-2 in the final.
“It’s not something you can foresee. Given the way we’d won, we weren’t surprised, but we felt an ecstatic joy that we’d never experienced before,” the Delta State-born legend added.
“It’s good to win the Africa Cup of Nations, for example, but when you win the Olympics, you’re considered as world champions.
“On top of that, we’d beaten teams like Brazil and Argentina to do it, and the quality of those teams means that our gold medal has a special worth.”
Oliseh, who turned out for Dutch outfit Ajax Amsterdam, Italian giants Juventus and German side Borussia Dortmund during his playing days, is widely regarded as one of the best African midfielders of all time.
The former Nigeria and Fortuna Sittard coach played 54 international matches for Nigeria and he scored two goals.