Why Some Senior Players Were Excluded From Eagles’ 2002 World Cup Squad – Finidi

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Why Some Senior Players Were Excluded From Eagles’ 2002 World Cup Squad – Finidi
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Former Super Eagles midfielder, Finidi George has alleged that some superior powers at the helm of affairs pressured then Super Eagles coach, Adegboye Onogbinde to drop some senior players, including himself, from the 2002 World Cup squad.

He disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH Online TV programme Kick and Follow.

The midfield maestro who once plied his trade in Spain with Real Betis, played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s qualification to the showpiece tournament when the team was being managed by late coach, Shaibu Amodu and his assistant Stephen Keshi.

Among the senior players dropped from the squad were 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.

He said, “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.

“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.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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