By James Agberebi
Group Managing Director and Executive Consultant of Complete Communications Limited (CCL) Dr. Mumini Alao, has authored and presented a new compelling book titled “The Making Of Nigeria’s Dream Team: Football Gold Medal Winners At Atlanta ‘96 Olympic Games.”
The book presentation took place on Sunday, 12 June, 2022 at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, during the 2021 The Ballers Awards ceremony.
Present at the event were former Nigeria international Chief Segun Odegbami who wrote the Foreword of the book; Chairman Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku; Nigeria Football Federation First Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi; Alhaja Medinat Temilade Alao, wife of Dr. Alao; veteran sports journalist, Kunle Solaja; renowned sports presenters Deji Omotoyinbo, Charles Anazodo, Temisan Okomi, Mozez Praiz and Matthew Edafe, among other guests.
Nigeria became the first African country to win Olympic football gold medal when the country’s team achieved the historic feat at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA.
Led by Dutch coach, Johannes Bonfrere, the U-23 Eagles, popularly nicknamed the ‘Dream Team’ had superstars like Nwankwo Kanu, Sunday Oliseh, Victor Ikpeba, Uche Okechukwu, Austin Okocha, Daniel Amokachi and Dosu Joseph. Other standout players in the triumphant squad were Emmanuel Amuneke, Celestine Babayaro, Tijjani Babangida, Mobi Oparaku, Garba Lawal and Wilson Oruma.
After advancing from a tricky group, the Dream Team defeated Mexico 2-0 in the quarter-final, came from behind to beat a star-studded Brazilian side 4-3 in the semi-final before pipping another South American powerhouse Argentina 3-2 in the final.
Dr. Alao explained his motivation for writing the book….
“As editor of Complete Football International magazine in 1996, I had the privilege of covering Nigeria’s “Dream Team” as we called them very closely throughout their journey to the Gold medal. I also reported that year’s Olympic Games for Complete Sports newspaper and the BBC Africa Service while traveling with the football team.
“When Nigeria won the Gold medal, I decided to write the book because it was our greatest ever achievement in world football and I thought the story of how we did it should be preserved for posterity. Along the line, I misplaced the original manuscript and forgot about the project. But during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, I made a determined search to recover the manuscript and finally completed the book.”
Alao further explained why the book was unveiled at the Ballers Awards.
“The Ballers Awards honoured me with the Icon of the Nigeria Sports Industry Award in 2020 which I acknowledged at the back of the book. When I spoke to the organizers, they were delighted and graciously agreed to include my book presentation in their programme. I will like to thank Gbenga Salu and his fantastic team again for the honour done to me.”
Alao is also graceful for the support he received from other people.
“I would have dedicated the book to my late boss and mentor, Dr. Emmanuel Sunny Ojeagbase, but it had been printed before he passed on. He gave me total freedom as editor of Complete Football, Complete Football Extra and Complete Football International magazines. May his generous soul continue to rest in peace.
“I thank Chief Segun Odegbami for writing an enthralling foreword to the book. People have to read it to appreciate what I’m talking about. It is a great appetizer to the main course.
“Also, I thank all my former colleagues at Complete Communications Limited led by former Complete Sports editor, Samm Audu, for their vicarious contribution to the book.”
Dr. Alao provides a guarantee of enjoyment and satisfaction for anyone that reads the book. “There are lots of previously unpublished insider information and exclusive interviews in the book. Football fans who experienced the Olympics triumph will be taken on a trip of beautiful nostalgia while those who were too young to witness it will get a sense of history. I guarantee that if anyone starts reading the book, he will not drop it until he gets to the last page.”
HOW TO BUY THE BOOK….The Making of Nigeria’s Dream Team: Football Gold Medal Winners At Atlanta ‘96 Olympic Games is available here on Amazon .com (International delivery) and here at JUMIA.com (Local delivery). Please click on the links below to place your order….