Former Super Eagles and Anderlecht defender Chidi Nwanu has revealed how a dressing room clash with the so-called mafia in the Super Eagles got him frozen out from team selection.
In an interview with Vanguard Sports, the defender turned preacher, when asked about the state of affairs in the squad after the departure of coach Manfred Hoener replied saying:
“I was blocked completely because the person I took his place came back and made sure I was never invited again. And that went into a lot of things. When finally this call came, I said, Okwaraji died, I knew what some players said when we came together to talk about his death. One of the key players opened his mouth inadvisedly to say things that you could charge him with the death of that young man. When you look at somebody that died and you say, “him wan show power. Him wan show say him get power”.
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That is stupidity, from somebody who was supposed to be a leader. I took a lot of s- -t there and one day I will say what I know about the national team. Most of them that were with the team in 1994, were responsible for robbing Nigeria of the World Cup. They put Nigeria football where it is today. All of you are there looking like you don’t know what is happening. I am not happy that we lost the World Cup. We had everything to win that World Cup. If I open the World Cup chapter, you won’t go anywhere until Jesus Christ comes.”
Nwanu continued: “There are a lot of pretenders who lacked the moral discipline otherwise we could have gone far in that World Cup. We lacked the discipline. And the leaders also failed because they could not organise the team when discipline broke down.
In a Senegal ’92 qualifier, I confronted coach Westerhof that I did not come here to be on the bench. I was sure he had been brainwashed. They must have told him, invite him and put him on the bench, frustrate him and the whole people would say at least you tried.
I wondered why most of the players (in the Eagles’ defence then), who could not even make the bench in their clubs were made to look like superstars at home. I, who played every week in Europe and a regular feature in the competitions best eleven would come to warm the bench for them in the Super Eagles.
Even some who featured in amateur clubs, and were not even regulars in their amateur clubs, they were preferred here by the national team coaches. It’s never done, it was clear injustice. There was one of them who was clubless, but each time I came to Nigeria he was one of the superstars and I was the bench warmer. How could that be?
I challenged Westerhof in that match, and he said to me, “My team is made up of stars and you are not a star,” and I said to him, ‘Westerhof listen to me when the going gets tough, only the tough get going and only the tough people will last. You will come for me’. I left. Until that World Cup in 1994. Even the dogs on the streets were crying go and take Chidi. Everybody was crying for Chidi because they observed Keshi was getting old and Chidi was the best option.”