Amokachi's reckless comment shows why former Super Eagles stars should stay away from the national team

The ex-Super Eagles star suggested that players born in the diaspora were responsible for the team's failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Daniel Amokachi

The former Everton man reacted to Nigeria's failure to qualify for the World Cup, but his comments were prejudiced.

It has been over two weeks since Nigeria's 2022 World Cup dream ended. Still, reactions continue to trail the disappointing performance on that Tuesday evening at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the biggest sporting event in the world after they were knocked out by arch-rivals Ghana via the away goals rule.

Nigeria held Ghana to a 0-0 draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi but could only play out a 1-1 draw in the return leg.

The players and coaches came in for harsh criticism after their failure, and rightly so.

However, while the team fully deserved to be criticised, not all the critics were objective in their criticism.

One of such is Daniel Amokachi, who blamed players born in the diaspora for Nigeria's failure to qualify for the World Cup. The former Everton man said only players like Victor Osimhen, who have been exposed to 'poverty', know what it takes to play for Nigeria.

"Football in Nigeria and Africa is a religion," Amokachi said. If we don't have a player like Osimhen, who hawked pure water on the Third Mainland bridge, you can see that's the way he plays.

"He knows what it takes to play for Nigeria. That's why he's running 24/7 to make us win.

"Quality-wise, we can't take it away from 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."

This is not a well-thought comment from Amokachi and is laced with prejudice.

While Amokachi has a right to react to the World Cup miss, blaming the foreign-born players in the squad is stupid and ridiculous.

When Nigeria missed out on qualification in 2006, the squad was full of players who grew up in Nigeria. Yet, no one questioned the desire of these players or blamed their upbringing for the team's failure.

So why should we lay such accusations on diaspora players this time around?

This is unfair to these players, who have played a key role in the Super Eagles squad in recent years.

In 2018, after Nigeria failed to qualify for back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations, players born in the diaspora played a vital role in ensuring Nigeria qualified for the World Cup in Russia.

Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi all played a massive role in Nigeria's qualification, but nobody singled them out for special praise.

However, the moment the team failed, their dedication to the country's cause was instantly questioned.

Amokachi's ridiculous comments highlight how the average Nigerian acts towards people from an affluent background.

The average Nigerian believes someone from an affluent background does not know what it takes to be a true Nigerian, which is exactly what Amokachi is saying about players who grew up in the diaspora.

It is quite unfortunate that a prominent figure in Nigerian football like Amokachi will make ridiculous comments like this. It is even more ironic because Amokachi's two sons have followed in their father's footsteps, and they reportedly play their football in Turkey.

But if there is anything to pick out from his comments, it is that former Super Eagles stars should stay away from football decisions in the country.

Amokachi watched the team over two legs, yet not once did he talk about coach Austin Eguavoen, who happens to be his former mate during their playing days.

In all his criticism of the players that had their football education in the diaspora, Amokachi left out Eguavoen, whose short spell in charge of the team was a total failure.

It should not come as a surprise, though, as former Super Eagles stars, especially the class of 94, are only protecting their mate from taking responsibility for the team's failure.

It is why Amokachi decided to prey on the easy targets- the foreign-born players, knowing Nigerians will likely lap it up.

Again, this should not be a surprise as it has been established that former Nigerian players have a thing against anything foreign.

They led the shouts for Gernot Rohr's sacking, calling for a local handler in charge of the national team.

And it has not stopped despite Eguavoen's failure. Recently, former Nigerian striker Segun Odegbami kicked against the Nigeria Football Federation's (NFF) decision to appoint a foreign coach.

Aside from the unfair criticism they dish out against foreign coaches and the diaspora players, there's also this sense of entitlement from the former Super Eagles stars, especially the class of 94.

The Super Eagles class of 94 can be compared to Manchester United's class of 92.

Most of the players who represented Nigeria between 1994 and 2000 want a say in the country's football decision-making process because of what they achieved when they played for the Super Eagles.

And it is quite funny because they achieved the same feat as the class of 2013, which is a continental title and a second-round finish at the World Cup.

Nonetheless, the events of the last few weeks, with Amokachi's comments, show why past Nigerian players should stay away from the national team.

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