Former Super Eagles boss Johannes-Franciscus Bonfrere, better known as Bonfrere Jo; has admitted he is yet to receive his Olympic medal, 24 years after leading the Dream Team to gold in Atalanta.
Far from being considered favourites; the Nigeria squad made up of a talented group that included Celestine Babayaro, Taribo West, Nwankwo Kanu, Emmanuel Amuneke; Jay-Jay Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, Garba Lawal, Daniel Amokachi and Sunday Oliseh; all punched above their weight to beat a strong Argentina side in the final 3-2.
Indeed, they are famously remembered for their epic 4-3 semi-final win against Brazil; a game in which they rallied back from 3-1 to score in the closing 12 minutes through Ikpeba and Kanu; the latter netting twice in injury time.
Also, it is regarded as one of the finest moments not only in Nigerian sports history; but in the Olympic games as well.
However, coach of the side, Bonfrere Jo says he was not given a medal. He revealed that provision was not made for him which he didn’t take lightly.
“I have not been given the Olympic gold medal we won in 1996. After we celebrated our victory over Argentina at the final; I was prevented from climbing the podium to receive my medal,” he told BCOS TV.
“They said mine was not available. I was annoyed and refused to return with the team to Nigeria. I went to Holland instead.”
Nevertheless, 1st News can report that pictures from the celebrations show the coach wearing a gold medal.
Also, Bonfrere Jo revealed he was promised property by the Federal Government of Nigeria; as part of his rewards for his achievements with the national team. He claimed he is yet to receive this.
“It’s unfair that after bringing glory to Nigeria, I was denied my rewards”, he said.
Meanwhile, Bonfrere Jo became Nigeria coach in 1995 and after his Olympic exploits in 1996; he moved to become the coach of Qatar followed by United Arab Emirates club Al-Wahda; before returning to Nigeria for the second time.
Furthermore, he led the Super Eagles to the final of the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosted between Nigeria and Ghana. Unfortunately, they lost 4-3 on penalties to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon after it finished 2-2 in extra-time.