Nigerian international John Ogu has apologised for urging Super Eagles players to boycott next month’s 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Sierra Leone.
Ogu advised the Eagles not to honour the games, following the death of 12 people who were reportedly killed by soldiers last week Tuesday night in Lagos, after weeks of protests across the country.
The protesters, were demanding the disbandment of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who are no more in existence.
Ogu believes boycotting the qualifiers would be a price worth paying even if the country failed to make it to 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.
“I feel like this is the best thing to do right now until they get back to their senses and listen to us.
“We want a good government, the police brutality to stop, we want the Sars to stop, we want the killings to stop, we want good laws, we want job opportunities. It’s just crazy.
“I believe most of my colleagues understand where I am coming from, I wish we can do this. There are games coming up and if we boycott these games I’m sure they will know we’ve made a statement.
“I haven’t really spoken to any of my team-mates about this. They feel for the people here, their loved ones, those that have died. I’m sure the players are aware.”
However, on Wednesday night Ogu in another statement published on his verified Twitter handle, apologised for his suggestions.
“I want to sincerely apologise to Nigerians, the Nigerian Football Federation and the players of the Super Eagles, both past and present and even those dreaming to wear the green and white jersey that I wore with great pride and honour.
“My comments about the Super Eagles boycotting the Afcon qualifiers, was said in the heat of the moment from a place of pain, frustration and anger for the shooting of harmless, flag carrying and national anthem singing Nigerians, at the Lekki toll gate. A national anthem and green and white flag that I have sang and carried all my life with joy and pride.
“I admit that I crossed the lines, by asking players to boycott the AFCON qualifiers. I have honoured all national team invitations with great joy and delight with a deep desire to be part of a team that give joy to Nigerians and make them happy, football is the strongest unifying force in Nigeria.
“I wish that my comments that were spoken out of anger and pain would not cause more division in our football and even at a time such as this that the nation needs to pull together. Thank you.”
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By James Agberebi