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Nigeria hinge hopes on Atlanta ’96 spirit

Nigeria hinge hopes on Atlanta ’96 spirit

The Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha led Nigeria legends side face Brazil this Saturday afternoon hoping to remain in the Star Sixes Legends tournament going on at London’s O2 Arena.

Nigeria had beaten China in the opening group game 3-2 but a 2-1 defeat last night to Italy means they have to better Italy’s result Vs Brazil to make sure of progress.

It has been a fascinating tournament in which players from the past have tried to rewind the years.

Quite naturally, Yakubu (Nigeria’s 2nd all time leading goalscorer) is the team’s leading scorer with two against China and the consolation against Italy. Peter Rufai in goal might have looked out of form with the goals conceded, but he has made many saves, particularly against Italy to remind fans of how great he once was.

Brazil, with Rivaldo, Juininho, Djalminha, Gilberto, Elano and Julio Baptista, have looked imperious. The 7-0 destruction of China was emphatic and the biggest margin in the tournament so far.

When reminded that this afternoon was a replay of the Atlanta ’96 Olympic football event encounter, Taribo West said: “I hope the result is the same as that one”. Speaking in the mixed zone after the Italy defeat, he continued: “It has been great to be here to be honest with you. I have seen many of those I played with and played against. I love it”.

The match kicks off at 13:00 Nigerian time and lasts 20 minutes.

The Star Sixes Tournament final is on Sunday, 16 July at London’s O2 Arena.

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