Okocha reveals why Eagles are no longer Super

By Daily Sports on July 29, 2017

Views: 2,398

Former Nigerian captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has traced the problem of the flagship team of the country, the Super Eagles to the disbandment after its poor showing in Mali 2002 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

He made the revelation in Morocco recently, while speaking with reporters. He stated that whenever he flashes his mind back to what he described as the worst decision ever made against a national side he simply says, that year marked the end of an era of a supposedly flourishing Super Eagles that evolved aiming earnestly to step into the big shoe left by the 1994 set of the team.

“Let me say without any colouration that the decision, which disbanded the Super Eagles, was the wrong step that nailed the steady and realistic progress the team. The decision would continue to hunt those behind it eternally. I must confess that it pains whenever one casts one’s mind back. It was a move that practically set the hands of the clock back in the overall development of our team. It truly dealt devastating blow to the well laid down strategic progression of the team and it has adversely affected the evolution of the squad,” the ex-international revealed.

It would be recalled that the Eagles finished third place at the AFCON 2002 summit hosted by Mali and government was instantly ill-advised to scatter the team to appease the fans. The legend insists it was like killing a mere fly with a sledge hammer after that energy sapping semi-final loss to the Taranga Lions of Senegal.

Okocha noted that the second team of the Eagles struggled to defeat Mali by a lone goal and picked the bronze medal. The government ensured that they got rid of Coaches Shaibu Amodu, Stephen Keshi and Joe Erico who were in charge of the team, thereby totally ending an era just like that. The former Bolton Wonderers skipper felt deeply it was that decision that blew nobody any good.

“We all know the dare consequences of such actions that once you disband a team; the tendency is to start from the scratch. You are aware that the zero level angle the handler saddled with the ‘rebuilding’ process did not get it right from beginning hence it threw up what has rubbed off sadly on the team,” he said.

The former Enugu Rangers International player further revealed that the click that disbanded the team hinged their reason on “curbing the excesses of the so-called mafia in the team.”  According to him, they erroneously held that some players were fuelling anxiety and holding officials to ransom because of bonuses. He emphatically debunked that claim as flimsy and cheap blackmail.

Players the world over are just like any other group of workers that must earn their wages. Every Nigerian knows too well the dirty antics of our officials, they pass it like batten. If you like, it is like relay race. If you listen to their sweet talk and don’t get your dues, that automatically disappear.

“The home truth is that, the mafia stuff is often linked to the love, passion and understanding we had in the team. All the players were in one accord as we totally agreed in getting what was due to us from them (then NFA). They didn’t like that hence it became a case of kettle calling pot black all in their spirited bid to give us a bad name, Mafia. It was like given a dog a bad name in order to hang it. We also knew that they got more allowances than us and still wanted to deprive us our own. It was inhuman. We closed ranks to fight for our rights. Imagine flying on economy class without leg room. And they expect you to do magic on the pitch. Some players ended up getting injuries before the match or not being in their best,” Okocha revealed.

•Photo shows ex-international Austin Jay Jay Okocha.

Source Daily Sports

Posted July 29, 2017


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