The finest hour of the former Golden Eaglets’ coach arrived in Japan ’93 but his worst moment with Nigeria came only two years after that memorable triumph
Coach Fanny Amun has revealed that external negative influence is the reason why he could not help Nigeria’s Flying Eagles qualify for the World Youth Championships, only a couple of years after lifting the U-17 World Cup with the Golden Eaglets.
Amun guided Celestine Babayaro, Nwankwo Kanu, Wilson Oruma and co to Nigeria’s second world title at the cadet level.
Following the success, he was entrusted with the mandate of leading Nigeria to the final of the 1995 African Youth Championship, hosted by Nigeria.
Only the two finalists of that tournament would qualify for the 1995 World Youth Championships in Qatar.
With a team primarily composed of home-based players, the Flying Eagles, unfortunately, ended in the third position, with Cameroon finishing as winners and Burundi the runners-up.
Amun insists that his bosses who stopped him from adding members of his World Cup-winning squad facilitated his failure.
“I did all I could. No assignment that has been given to me that I have not been a huge success at all levels,” the gaffer told Premium Times.
“I won the U-17 World Cup in 1993, and I said allow me to use the same players Oruma and others to prosecute the U20 World Cup, but they formed a clique against me.
“The then association and the sports ministry said I wanted to waste funds, that we have already qualified as hosts of the U-20 that I should use home-based players.
“I told them it was not possible. We played a lot of friendly matches, too much. I saw the lapses there. The then head of state invited me to meet him because I was reported to him as being stubborn.
“They gave me money, I took the team to Germany, we played Leverkusen and other teams, but I still kept on saying we can’t prosecute the U-20 with that team.
“I asked for even five (players) from the ’93 team, Celestine and others, so I could be ‘sleeping’ on the bench because these players are now matured because of the exposure they had, but they refused, insisting that I wanted to waste funds.
“You saw the games in Lagos where (there was) Duke Udi, Ebiede, Olumide Harris. They dribbled everybody and still played the ball over the bar. Is it me that did that. For me, I know I did my best.”