Saturday May 09, 2020. 11:00
Former Nigeria international Chinedu Obasi says he was left out of the 2014 Fifa World Cup because he refused to pay a bribe.
The 33-year-old winger was left out of the squad by back-then Super Eagles head coach Stephen Keshi despite having impressed at German club Schalke 04.
Obasi also disclosed that an injury at the 2010 FIFA World Cup cost him a move to an English club.
”I was playing for Schalke, I was playing in the UEFA Champions League and I was doing well. Two days before the list came out, I was asked to pay some money if I want to be in the team,” Obasi said on Instagram.
“I felt like I’ve paid my dues for the country, I shouldn’t do this. If I was a young player, maybe I would have done that, but it was a bit personal for me and I felt very heartbroken. I was supposed to move from Hoffeinheim to England and I got injured playing for Nigeria at the World Cup [in South Africa].
“After that competition, nobody called me to know how I am doing. I spent a lot of money to get fit. All people talked about was the injury. They don’t care to know what I went through on a daily basis making sure I get my body in shape, to stay healthy.”
“It takes a lot of dedication, money, investing in myself and my body. I went through surgery, did everything I can. Now a competition is coming up, you’re inviting me to the national team. I’ve exhausted my own money and you want me to pay, which is a slap in the face for me,” he continued.
“I said I’m not comfortable doing that. They said I should know the system, and I should act like I’m a Nigerian. I said it’s not about being a Nigerian but doing the right thing.
Obasi, who is currently a free agent, played for the Super Eagles between 2005 and 2011, and he scored four times in 26 matches.
“I’ve kept it close to my chest since 2014 because you’d have unnecessary enemies when you talk. People who played in lower leagues went to that World Cup. I’m not taking a jab at anyone,” he continued.
“If you’re good for the World Cup, then you should go, but I feel like if you have to take the best and at the time, I was playing for a top team, Schalke 04 which was among the top team in Europe at the time.
“Funny enough, after the conversation, it got a bit more personal. They told me that even if I end up going as part of the team, their own agent will negotiate that deal. I said it doesn’t sound good to me.”