Amidst allegations by ex-international Daniel Amokachi, that agents bribed Super Eagles coaches for their players to be given call-ups, former national team coach Adegboye Onigbinde has said no player or agent approached him with money while he was in charge of the Eagles.
Amokachi, who worked as an assistant to former Eagles coaches Stephen Keshi (2011-2015), Amodu Shuaibu (2008 to 2010) and Austin Eguavoen (2005-2007) had sensationally revealed that all three used to complain about being approached by agents (with money) to feature their players.
“Every time Amodu would tell me, ‘Can you listen to these useless agents that are calling me? They want to give me $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 to bring their players in.’ But he’s a man of integrity and wouldn’t take it. I worked with Keshi and it was the same scenario. With Eguavoen, it was the same. If these three names mentioned had no integrity, definitely they would have fallen victim,” Amokachi told BBC Sport.
But two-time Eagles coach Onigbinde, who led Nigeria to the 2002 World Cup, said such never happened during his time with the team.
He said, “Of all the players I have discovered, I have not earned $1 from any of them. Even the players’ agents are afraid to come to me. I have a name to protect.
“I came on occasions when the team had broken down in 1984 and 2002 and I had to start building the team from the streets. In fact, I have documents of the players saying in 2002 that if all of them were not invited for the World Cup, none of them would come to camp.”
Former international Taiwo Oloyede however said bribery was a form of “appreciation” even before a player was called up to the national team. But he denied giving bribes to play for the national team.
“They call it appreciation. There’s nowhere it doesn’t happen; corruption is everywhere, even in offices. Those involved keep it highly secretive and you can hardly nab them. And it’s still happening; managers do it so that their players will be better reckoned with in the domestic league or in Europe,” the ex-Stores captain stated.
“It usually happened between coaches and the players who were desperate to make an impact. I had made my name and no coach could ask me for money before inviting me.”
Another ex-Eagles star, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “There was a time we were returning home from an away game and the players bought Rolex watches for officials on the plane.”
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