Former Super Eagles coach, Adeboye Onigbinde has revealed that he regrets taking a few of the disbanded players to the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Onigbinde was saddled with the responsibility of taking over the team from late coach, Shuabu Amodu after the Super Eagles finished third at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations.
The tournament saw some players revolt against the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over unpaid bonuses/allowances, a situation that didn’t go down well for the federation.
With growing fears that the entire team could be disbanded, Onigbinde opted to select a few experienced players to beef up his team for the Mundial.
The result of his decision saw the team finished third in a group that had Argentina, England, and Sweden. He told Brila FM he regrets inviting certain players. The subsequent infiltration by these unwanted elements, who – in his words – “sabotaged Nigeria’s world cup in Korea/Japan”.
“I blame myself and truly, I this is perhaps one of my biggest regrets in 2002,” he said.
“Those players who were disbanded in 2002 at the Cup of Nations in Mali, I shouldn’t have invited some of them for the World Cup.
“They sabotaged our World Cup and I know, some of them not all.
“We could have won against Argentina and perhaps qualified beyond the group stage. The two goals we conceded against Sweden also, they were deliberate.
”And you see, that’s why in the last game against England, I change the entire team. That’s when we picked Enyeama and we did fantastically well.”
“It was among the senior players we invited from the disbanded team in Mali, but not Okocha (Jay Jay) or Kanu (Nwankwo), they were committed and they gave a hundred per cent,” he concluded.