…says Bonfrere almost took over from Milutinovic
A former Super Eagles player and coach, Daniel Amokachi, has revealed that the senior national team battled with so much ob-stacles that affected the performances of the players at the France ’98 World Cup. Amokachi noted that even before the kick-off of the Copa Mundial, it was obvious to the players that the team would not go far.
He stated that apart from some administrative issues the players had to contend with, Eagles Manager, Bora Milutinovic did not do a good job overall. The former international is also Special Adviser to President Buhari on Football said: “The friendly matches we played were enough to show we were not going anywhere. We lost all the friendlies with wide margins and that was unusual at the time, “After Ike Shorunmu’s injury, the return of Peter Rufai was not also okay to some of the players because he was not ready. Too many issues affected the team and prevented us from doing better than we did in France.”
On how the country managed to pick the second round ticket and beat highly rated Spain in the opening game, the former international fondly called the Bull said it was determination. His words: “We spoke to ourselves to give our best shot despite the issues we had and somehow the Nigerian spirit in us helped as we defeated Spain (3-2) and also Bulgaria (1-0) in the first two games. “Against Denmark, our spirit was down because it was few days after the Head of State, Sani Abacha, died and the coach for no reason placed many top players on the bench for the match.
Late Rasidi Yekini and I were on the bench. He did not reckon with Yekini as first or second choice but he was actually our best forward at the time.” Amokachi also revealed that but for the deathof thelateHeadof State, BonfrereJowould haveleadNigeriatotheWorldCupinFrance. “I am aware that Bonfrere was contacted and he was to take over but because Abacha died, it was not concluded and Bora escaped the sack. Football is a big deal in Nigeria and it is sad when it is left for some journey men who come as foreign coaches,” Amokachi added.