Jay-Jay Okocha says that questions will be asked about the passion of Nigeria’s players following their exit from the Africa Cup of Nations.
The reigning champions failed to qualify for the 2015 finals after drawing 2-2 with South Africa in Uyo on Wednesday, marking a second exit before the tournament proper in three editions.
And while Stephen Keshi’s future has already been called into question, Okocha believes the players have to take some of the responsibility too.
“I think, to be honest, we will always produce talented players. But perhaps the question is whether they have the same passion that they used to have.”
Okocha told Goal. “People are pressuring them about that, you know, because sometimes it seems as if they don’t really care much about the result.”
Wednesday’s result combined with Congo’s 1-0 win in Sudan to extinguish Nigeria’s final hopes, but the 41-year-old said they had made it very difficult for themselves earlier in the campaign.
“Of course it was down to our bad spot, even if we were still in with a chance,” he added. “I think sometimes players must have a wake-up call before they realise they are back in African football. They left themselves get into a difficult position.”