Monday Apr 04, 2022. 10:00
Legendary Nigerian striker Daniel Amokachi believes the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals as they were using players who were rejected by other countries.
The Super Eagles’ ambition of taking part in this year’s global showpiece in Qatar were ended by their West African rivals Ghana, who defeated them on the away goals rule following a 1-1 draw on aggregate in the final round of qualifying last week.
Ola Aina, Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Ademola Lookman are some of the Europe-based stars who opted to play for Nigeria as dual-eligible players having been born abroad.
These players played for the Super Eagles under coach Augustine Eguavoen, who has since been dismissed following the matches against Ghana.
Amokachi, who won the African Cup of Nations title in 1994 and a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics with Nigeria during his playing days, has challenged the Nigerian Football Federation to return to developmental structures that saw the senior national team reach greater heights.
“Quality-wise we can’t take it away from Nigeria,” Amokachi said on Daily Post Nigeria.
“Every day Nigeria is blessed with one immigrant player who is playing out there and he’ll always come up and say I turned down my birth country, I want to play for Nigeria when their country of birth never looked for them. They won’t even make their birth nation squads,” Amokachi told SuperSport.
The 49-year-old went on to praise the late Stephen Keshi, who opted to use the players bred in Nigeria and went on to lift the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations title.
“Unfortunately for us Nigeria, we’ve thrown away our developmental structure which we had that made us win the 1996 Olympics gold medal, that made that generation so great,” he added.
“Stephen Keshi came into play and revived it and we saw how we won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.”
The former Everton, Besiktas and Club Brugge striker was present in Nigeria’s squads for World Cup 1994 and World Cup 1998.