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Why Onigbinde Dropped Some Senior Players From 2002 World Cup Squad -Finidi

Why Onigbinde Dropped Some Senior Players From 2002 World Cup Squad -Finidi

Former Nigerian midfielder, Finidi George has disclosed why some of the senior players, including himself, were dropped from the squad to the 2002 World Cup by former Super Eagles coach, Adegboye Onogbinde.

Finidi made this revelation in an interview with The PUNCH Online TV programme Kick and Follow, where he said that Onigbinde was pressured by the powers at the top to exclude them from the squad.

Recall that the former Real Betis star played an integral role in Nigeria’s qualification to the Mundial when the team was being managed by late coach, Shaibu Amodu and his assistant Stephen Keshi.

Some of the senior players dropped from the squad include Victor Agali, Tijani Babangida, Sunday Oliseh, Victor Ikpeba Nosa, and George Finidi. But Finidi stated that the players didn’t deserve such unfair treatment from them.

“I think there was pressure on him (Onigbinde) because I don’t think that he did that on his own. He did not know much about that team and I can state that he never knew team players characters. We (players) had a confrontation in Mali (with officials), and at the end of the day, I was disappointed but I will not blame him.

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“There was pressure from the top. Our exclusion from the team was not for football reasons but because we spoke out for what we deserved. If I was one of the senior players who was picked I would have spoken out that it will be unfair to leave the other experienced players out from the squad for the World Cup.

“We were part of the team that traveled across Africa to war-torn areas to qualify the team for the competition. We didn’t deserve that treatment.”

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 7
  • Korea/Japan 2002, a totally wasted world cup ticket. Still remember Bartholomew Ogbeche and his famous, mesmerizing back flip. And everyone was sold on him. Hehehe. And Taribo’s Lamentations about going to the World Cup with amateurs?

    Opabunmi, Justice Christopher, Pius Ikedia, James Obiorah, Benedict Akwuegbu – plus a few of the regulars like Okocha, Adepiju & Kanu Half-strength squad.

    The development from 1994 was stagnated/disrupted with that very poorly handled crisis and SE had to start rebuilding again from scratch, post-2002. World Cup 2002 was a serious blip. Totally forgettable – except for that Aghahowa wonder goal off Yobo’s telegraphic loop from the corner flag against Sweden.

    On the bright side, the likes of Vincent Enyeama and John Utaka really came into their own.

    And Nigeria really wronged Amodu. Even Keshi had a chance to take us to the World Cup. Amodu would have done fantastically well.

     
    • Eldridge Cleaver 3 weeks ago

      Well said Brodaman. I and I always believed that the squad to that 2002 world cup was full of undeserving players. These days the Super Eagles is full of deserving players like Alexander the Great Iwobi, Joe Aribo, Victor Osihmen and others. Therein lies why Nigeria will qualify for the final of the world cup in 2022. Deserving players will make sure that Nigeria will be successful. Jah bless Alexander the great. Jah bless Gernot Rohr. Jah bless all deserving Super Eagles players.

       
    • NaijaEaglesFan 2 weeks ago

      @Kel I strongly disagree with you on how Amodou would have performed if he was the coach 2002 world cup, he wouldn’t have performed any better than chief gun chewing Onigbide. Remember that all what Finidi said, people at the top force the coach to get rid of 90% of the best players Nigeria had at that point in time. So if Amodou went to the world cup he would still have to work with untested and unproven set of players like Onigbide did I don’t think he would have been able to perform any miracles or magic after all his tool and weapons were taken away from his tool box and arsenal.

       
    • Odion Ezomo 2 weeks ago

      I think they were just lucky becos they won all der friendly matches during preparation for d world cup

       
  • NaijaEaglesFan 2 weeks ago

    @Kel I strongly disagree with you on how Amodou would have performed if he was the coach of the 2002 world cup team. He wouldn’t have performed any better than chief gun chewing Onigbide remember what Finidi said, “people at the top forced the coach to get rid of 90% of the best players Nigeria had at that point in time” so if Amodou went to the world cup he would still have to work with untested and unproven set of players like Onigbide did I don’t think he would have been able to perform any miracles or magic after all his tool and weapons were taken away from his tool box and arsenal.

     
    • @NaijaEaglesFan I think your submission is the wrong one. If Chief Amodu was in charge, there was nowhere on earth he would have agreed to go with those untested players and leave behind Veterans that fought for him to qualify. Secondly, Chief Onigbinde was always sold to the old ways of scouting and using players no matter if they were playing atvhis backyard forgetting that when he used to pick players from 3SC and Enugu Rangers had gone bye. The world has moved on. Before now, shooting stars, enugu Rangers, bendel insurance can provide the bulk of our team at a short notice and still play well within the continent without much impression globally but football has outgrown that. He was still stuck in that world and that made him stick with any kind of player to go against world powers. We saw how it ended. So, I disagree. Amodu/ keshi combo would have known way better, what to expect due to more exposure to modern challenges which Chief Onigbinde lacked. My opinion. Thanks

       
  • Ukpong iniobong 2 weeks ago

    There are so many things we forget in this country.when you express your anger over certain maltreatments, you will become a victim of circumstance. The evil that men do will live with them and after them. Nigerians are the one who are responsible for whatever ill we are suffering in the country and GOD will judge them.