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MY WORLD CUP STORY – Okala: I Almost Slept Hungry After Italy Knocked Eagles Out Of USA ’94

MY WORLD CUP STORY –  Okala: I Almost Slept Hungry After Italy Knocked Eagles Out Of USA ’94

I’m a patriotic Nigerian. I always want the Super Eagles to clean off their opponents at the World Cup.  I thought we had done it in a massive way in 1994 even though it was our first-time outing at the World Cup.
Every opportunity was on cue for us. Italy were down to 10 men. And we were already one goal up.
But surprisingly, or shockingly, if I could say so, we failed to make our double advantage count, and eventually Italy came from behind to equalise and win.
If not that I was mature in everything about football, having been involved in it long enough to know its dynamics, I would have starved myself in that state of ‘mourning’. Another person with my kind of patriotism and love for the national team could have gone to bed without food that night.
Thereafter, we have seen situations where the FA allowed issues that had to do with unpaid allowances hamper the Super Eagles’ World Cup campaigns.
They promised much but ended up doing almost nothing which knocked the players off stride. It would be rather better not making promises than not fulfilling them in the end.
But for now, I’m seeing a positive shift especially on the part of the NFF. Fillers have it that they have streamlined and ironed out those knotty areas such as the rancorous allowances which had in the past seen the Super Eagles approach the World Cup as a divided house or a bunch with low morale.
So I’m expecting some positives from this current squad in Russia, especially if NFF acts out its well scripted remuneration arrangement for the players which boosts team spirit in a tournament of this magnitude.”
-Former Nigeria goalkeeper and 1980 AFCON winner Emmanuel Okala spoke with Nnamdi Ezekute.
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  • The day I will never forget! Hmm! Nigeria vs Italy. I felt sick for nearly 2 week and I saw television and radio as forbidden. It was a terrible moment in my life.