Akwuegbu: Why I Now Regret Playing For Nigeria Instead Of Austria

Akwuegbu: Why I Now Regret Playing For Nigeria Instead Of Austria

Despite an illustrious international career that saw him feature in all categories of the Nigeria’s national teams, Benedict Akwuegbu has sensationally told Completesports.com that he now regrets representing his fatherland in international football instead of Austria that also offered him a great opportunity.

Akwuegbu reiterates that after a rewarding 16-year career in the green-white-green colours of Nigeria, the nation doesn’t seem to appreciate him.

The former Grazer AK of Austria forward says that the thought of his unrecognised efforts by the hierarchy of the Nigeria Football Federation makes him regret choosing to serve the country after Austria tried in vain to convince him to switch international allegiance to the European nation.

“It’s so sad that after serving my fatherland, the football authority doesn’t seem to appreciate nor recognise my efforts,” Akwuegbu said in an exclusive interview with Completesports.com.

Also Read: Akwuegbu Gives Away Four Cars To Ex-Footballers As Covid-19 Palliative

“It makes me feel the regret of playing for the Super Eagles. It makes me blame myself, and ask myself why I rejected Austria who were all over me then to play for their national team which I turned down in preference to Nigeria.


Akwuegbu against England’s Paul Scholes at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The match ended goalless

“If I knew I would be treated this way, perhaps I would have been much wiser. But then, that’s the prize I had to pay for being patriotic, holding tight to my love for the green, white and green colours of Nigeria.”

Akwuegbu added: “Till today, Austria still show me love, they still recognise me to the point that I now wonder how it would have been if I had adopted their nationality and represented them at the senior level.

“I’m just being honest to my conscience. I’m not against the leadership of the NFF. They are doing their best and obviously they cannot carry everyone along all together.

“But then, the field is large enough for them to increase the team [coaches] number. You have the Super Eagles, U-23 Olympic Eagles, Flying Eagles, U-17 Golden Eaglets. You also have the women teams – Super Falcons, Falconets and Flamingoes (U-17).

“You can appoint one ex-international to each of these teams. By so doing, nobody would complain. You have ex Eagles stars like Taribo West and others who gave their all to Nigeria but not recognised now nor engaged. It is not fair.”

Akwuegbu (left) and Olusegun Fetuga during their days in the 1989 Golden Eaglets squad

Akwuegbu would go on to rate the Super Eagles class of 2000 on the same pedestal with their 1994 counterparts. He reckons that both squads represented the best ever assemblage of Super Eagles in terms of talents and team quality, but says that only luck denied the 2000 team the Africa Cup of Nations trophy after losing to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on penalty kicks on home soil.

“In 2000, we had a mixture of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games soccer gold medalists and also some of the 1994 Super Eagles Nations Cup winning team and World Cup debutants,” he said.

“That was a very strong team, like that of the 1994. It was only unfortunate that we didn’t win the AFCON that year because we lost on penalty kicks to Cameroon in the final. You know, penalty kicks is nobody’s game, it is a matter of luck because it is lottery, it can go either way.

“Cameroon at that time, was a very strong team, everyone knows that. But we put up a good fight. We had a solid and fantastic team then, I must say.”

Akwuegbu represented Nigeria at all levels. He first featured in the U17s – the Golden Eaglets. He represented the country at the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals staged in Scotland, in 1989, although he did not get the chance to play in any of the three group matches and the second round tie.

He represented also Nigeria at the U23 level, making the cut for the 1991 All Africa Games in Egypt before featuring at the 1993 U-20 CAF Championship in Mauritius with the Flying Eagles.

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  • OmoEsan 4 years ago

    There he goes again.

    Someone should please tell Benedict Akwuegbu that being an ex-international is not enough to get you a role in any of the national teams and he should stop clamoring for mediocrity. Certifications and adequate work experience does it, not emotionalism.

    It has become obvious that all his recent rantings in the media is being done with the hope of getting ‘something’ from the NFF.

    Benedict should please note that our national teams are not rehabilitation centers, but they are our national pride and we need thorough bred professionals to manage them.

    He keeps saying the NFF isn’t using ex-internationals. Why should you tell lies to push your course? Siasia, Keshi, Oliseh, Amuneke, Amokachi, Christian Chukwu, Yobo, Manu Garba, Ben Iroha, Nduka Ugbade, Alloy Agu, Ike Shorounmu, Garba Lawal((NFF Technical department), Victor Ikpeba(NFF Technical department), Victor Agali(Scout), Nwankwo Kanu (NFF Ambassador) are all ex-internationals and have all been gainfully engaged by the NFF in various capacities within the last two decades, so what exactly does Akwuegbu, Elder Odegbami and other proponents of ‘ex-internationals must take-over’ want. Interestingly, some of these guys are not certified and experienced enough for the positions they occupy/occupied, but the NFF still employed them all because of their status as ex-internationals.

    You clamored for a certificateless ex-international, Yobo, and you got your wish and now an active clergy in person of Pastor Taribo is your next client. Please what position are you nominating him for and what qualifications has he got to man that position? I hope you want deploy your ‘ex-international’ tactics this time around. I sincerely wish you bad luck on this venture, cuz it’s obvious you don’t have the interest of Nigerians at heart.

    You claim that Nigeria doesn’t appreciate you and you would have played for Austria. Oga no be today oo!, if you had done that Nigerians wouldn’t have lost sleep for one second. You may ask John Fashanu & co.
    If I may ask, does the NFF owe you anything as regards your allowances and bonuses while they engaged you the few times they did? Some of you guys always forget that the NFF through the national teams chose you among many talented guys of your era, trained you and exposed you before those Austrians saw you and wanted you. Nigeria made you who/what you are and not vice-versa, so stop riding on cheap blackmail and emotionalism.

    If you want to work for any of the national teams, Oga, go and get your certifications and adequate work experience and then apply for a job when there’s vacancy, it is at this stage that your status as ex-international can work to your advantage.

    Come to think of it, is NFF the only employer in the world of soccer? Depending solely on the NFF to employ and/or rehabilitate ex-internationals is a sign of laziness on your path if you ask me. You may go and learn from the likes of Mutiu Adepoju (former CEO La Liga Nigeria), Mike Emenalo, Seyi Olofinjana, Karibe Ojigwe et al who have advanced in their career with or without the NFF.

    From the depth of our heart we truly appreciate the labour of our ex-internationals, but Mr Akwuegbu should please wake up, do the needful and stop blaming the NFF for his inadequacies.

    • Pompei 4 years ago

      OmoEsan, we are now seeing why his nickname is Austrian Bomber. He has been dropping bombs all over the place recently (where bomb = ill-conceived opinions). He regrets playing for Nigerian because there is no quid pro quo appointment for him? So NFF is obligated to employ every ex-international, as a show of appreciation for past services rendered?
      This dude is just funny, honestly. So all his recent complaining was for a reason, after all. He has a hidden agenda all this while. LMAO!
      Go and improve yourself, get your coaching badges and other qualifications, and then apply for any job you’re interested in. We have to stop “man know man” and “my person” appointments in our national teams. Appointments should be made on merit, pleeeeeaaaaaaaase!!!

    • I wouldn’t have said it any better. Most Ex internationals entitlement mentality baffles me.

      The country gave you exposure, you got a good club, was paid better than many others who probably were more talented than you.

      Most of them squander their income while playing, forgetting that football is a very short career. After football, they get broke. That’s when you see them harassing the government for nothing. Oga, what did you do with all the money you made while active?

      With all the money they make, they should have a good life after retirement but lack of planning and living lavishly won’t allow them be great.

  • @ OMOESAN…..

    Ur parent’s school fees wasn’t in vain…..
    U have paid them back…..
    A well trained future leader….
    Ur analysis speaks for u…

    These are the kind of brain we need in this local biom…..
    The likes of (OAKFIELD, DR DREY, CHAIRMANFEMI, OLA and some right thinking and sincere fellow) always gives me joy and hapiness in this forum….
    U pple always make me feel and have hope that inspite of the corrupt practices going on in all parastatals in nigeria, the future is still bright….
    Product of good home training and well mentored character is seen in u guys…..
    Thanks a lot for making my day….

    I personally don’t have anything to say concerning this national anthem “ex-internation” of a thing….
    Let them keep singing the chorus.

    I read how a young Nigerian 24 is being given a coaching role in poland even when he’s never played any national team football.
    He went and gathered the needed certificates and trainings. He didn’t come and cry for NFF to employ him..

    • OmoEsan 4 years ago

      @ King , thanks for the compliments.

      • ayodele 2 years ago

        really wat king said is 100% rigth abt u omoesan. am so impress .thanks for giving out a great insight on wat the Akwegwu guy is trying to do.OMOESAN your name is well noted by me.

        • OmoEsan 2 years ago

          Many thanks for the compliments Ayodele.

          I’m surprised a comment of almost two years is still generating reactions.

  • If he is now regretting tell him to return the silver medal he won in 2000,couldnt have won anything with austria

  • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

    Our Exinternationals and their sense of entitlement.

    “….You can appoint one ex-international to each of these teams. By so doing, nobody would complain. You have ex Eagles stars like Taribo West and others who gave their all to Nigeria but not recognised now nor engaged. It is not fair….”

    Oga, NFF is not a charity or social security organization. Even Charity Organizations employ on merit, so that there will be efficiency and accountability in their operations and hence attract more funding from global development financiers like World Bank, USAID, DFID and the rest of them.

    If you want employment go and dust your CV and forward it to employers for consideration and compete with others who show interest too. Stop running your mandibles on internet pages crying for favours from godfathers.

    NFF should employ you…as what..? We only knew you as a footballer, what other skills, competencies, qualifications and experiences have you gathered since you quit football, that you now want NFF to be throwing job offers at you in your parlour whereas there are 10s if not 100s of young Nigerians already coaching all around the world who are also interested in similar positions.
    The NFF recently revealed that only 4 coaches in the local league has as little as a coaching diploma or CAF A License…that means there’s a HUGE JOB MARKET in the league….you and the rest of your lazy and overrated exinternationals should go and pick up these jobs which are there waiting for you and stop disturbing our ears with “baambi allah” pleas for jobs like an Almajiri.

    You and your colleagues are becoming irritating. Why didn’t the clubs you played for throw jobs at you because you had 100 caps for them…?! A 24yr old Nigerian just got employed in Europe, not as u15 or U17 or academy coach….as coach of the main/senior team of a professional club in the top division.

    Keep spending your time begin for jobs on the pages of newspapers while your children’s mates are using their CVs to get jobs elsewhere.


    • Oakfield 4 years ago

      Lol…. They feel since the fashionista could be given a job without qualifications, they too should be considered for a position even if they are qualified or not. The nff have shown that they are a disorganized organization. That’s the damage the appointment of yobo has done so far. Now, every lazy jobless ex international feels its his birthright to be given a job by the nff. Go and upgrade yourselves, stop looking for cheap opportunities to get jobs. Stop being lazy ex internationals.

  • Chima E Samuels 4 years ago

    See this average player talking self CS stop giving audience to this kind of players.

  • Chidiomimi 4 years ago

    I would have love to counsel Mr Akwegbu on the implication of regret on his health, his family etc. Others have said what I would have contributed. I pray after this, Mr Benedict will not have heart attack.

  • I understand Benedict Akwuegbu has an academy so to appoint him to a national team will be a conflict of interest. Is he looking for an avenue to push substandard players into our cadet teams? If he were running a successful academy he wouldn’t have time to be looking at an appointment and would be cashing in big time.

    He has not stated that he has applied for a coaching job, he has not mentioned being a qualified coach, but he is looking for “appreciation”. Having said that, with approximately 10 ex-internationals per year between 1994 and 2018, we are looking at a minimum of 240 ex-players. There are not enough teams to be allocated to each ex-player and if it was done on merit, I don’t think he will get a shout.

    He should focus on his primary business and use his Austrian connection” to get trials for his academy players

  • RulerOfMen 4 years ago

    “You can appoint one ex-international to each of these teams. By so doing, nobody would complain. You have ex Eagles stars like Taribo West and others who gave their all to Nigeria but not recognised now nor engaged. It is not fair.” 

    You see that statement above about fairness is exactly why we are rotting in every sector of the country jot least our football. Oga Benni, thank yo for your years of loyal service, but if you love Austria so much go and coach there now. Oh! Shoot! I forgot, you don’t actually have coaching experience. You have a sense of entitlement though. I give you that. Nonsense. see him advocating for Taribo West as if the Pastor told him he is interested in coaching.

    • Alloy Agu and Joseph Yobo with Super Eagles.
      Imama Ampakamagbo with Under 23
      Under 17 Nduka Ugbade

      Now there are 200 ex players for one under 20 place. Will you take Akwuegbu over Finidi George, Seyi Olofinjana or Eddy Dombraye?

  • Gidein S 4 years ago

    Like seriously!!!
    Na Yobo matter dey cos all this nonsense….


  • This man need to be realistic with himself,they keep saying they serve their fatherland like they play for free, were they not paid? or are we now suppose to hire an incompetent coach simply because he has pay for the country before? the jay jays, kanus, and others that are even more reliable dnt talk rubbish, mr akwuegbu pls with respect go embrace youre austria citizenship, its never too late.

  • Dis so called ex-internationals are d problem we are having in our football.always wanting to get tins easily all because they are ex-internationals.

  • I blame odegbami for dis.everybody now feel dey deserve a coaching appointment,lazy people

  • GLORY 4 years ago

    Oh boy nor dey talk things, wey go make area gather beat you oo. ABI you nor well? See you wey suppose to dey thank nigeria for helping you see front for life naim come dey talk like this? You for kuku remain for Austria n for sure na spliff business you for end up. Abeg ee.

  • Owanbe 4 years ago

    With due respect, Akwuegbu, you are a big fool! The bonuses you were paid were more than the total end of service gratuity a 30-year civil servant of the highest grade will dream of. You are are a certified idiot. Shikena

  • Wisdom 4 years ago

    Bros abi na poverty or na wetin , 
    Y can’t u guys learn from people like Okoka , Kanu, Yakubu etc
    U can’t hear them come out and speak this way coz they invest dia money very well
    You should be glad that u had the opportunity to play for Super Eagles 
    Do u know how many millions of people dream of playing for U’17 not to talk of the Super Eagles 
    Bros be reasonable for once na 

  • These things sha, i dont think the government owe these guys. You were paid during your active days, you didnt play for free.

  • This guy is a big disappointment. He should just go and find something to do.

  • Ako Amadi 4 years ago

    Benedict Akwuegbu’s intelligence surprises me. He is wealthier than retired Nigerian doctors and teachers. What does he expect Nigeria to do for him? Since he loves Austria so much he has a chance to become a coach of the Austrian national team.

  • Mercy 4 years ago

    Nigerians with this sense of entitlement sha!!! Many of our ex internationals are always of the opinion that Nigeria owe them alot for playing for their fatherland as if you guys are not being paid when you are playing for the country. If Austria had been good to you as you said, you should be coaching at least one of their league clubs by now. The fact remains that many of you guys hate personal development. What most of you want is short cut to success. No wonder one of your collegues who is without a coaching certificate, no experience but because he’s an ex international believe he is qualify enough as no2 man of SE coach..smh

  • KangA 4 years ago

    A scholar once said: “Injustice is done when the equals are treated unequally and the unequals are treated equally.” Therein lies the sense of entitlement by our ex-internationals. If you give an unqualified man a plum job, why don’t you extend the favour to his neighbor? Abi, we all shop from the same market? If you perceive the aroma of delicious stew from your neighbor’s house, won’t you salivate?

    I suppose when some fans cried foul at Yobo’s unjustified appointment, NFF thought the contrary views were from unreasonable troublemakers. That false move by NFF is now generating a boomerang effect. Everyone wants a piece of the pie! Real kata-kata will burst when Yobo becomes the head coach.

  • He wasted his pay and match allowances. Yadayadayada!!!
    It is high time these footballers are thought financial and investment planning. Grace to grass is not an accident. It is a profound choice for most footballers!

  • Dan Kazuga 2 years ago

    Mr Akwaugbu, go and learn from Okocha he’s still alive with his footballing and business senses. He never put eye in any services for monthly salary.

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