Ex-international Sunday Oliseh has revealed that the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) tried to sack Clemens Westerhof as Super Eagles coach before Nigeria’s first-ever appearance at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Oliseh, a member of the ’94 AFCON winning squad disclosed this in his book titled ‘Audacity to Refuse’.
The former Borussia Dortmund ace, who was also part of the team that won the 1996 Olympic Gold medal in Atlanta, said Westerhof disclosed to him the move by the FA to sack him without any concrete reasons.
“Prior to President (Sani) Abacha’s call, I received a surprising response, a summon from coach Westerhoff to his room. He inquired how my knee injury was going. Before I could give a response he informed me that I had to do everything possible to play as my role had become extremely important to our success and my absence would be disastrous for us as he had no credible replacement.
“He shocked me as he informed me that since I had become one of the influential players of the team in a short time, he wanted to let me know that his position was being threatened. He informed me that the FA was trying to sack him before the World Cup.
“With hindsight, I believe he needed my backing should my opinion be sought from above regarding his future. This was confusing, while it was flattering to see how important God had made me with the Super Eagles in a very short time. I was also put in a complicated position at the same time,” Oliseh said in his book.”
The Super Eagles had an incredible debut campaign at the World Cup; having emerged top of their group with six points from three games, but were eliminated at the knock-out stage after losing 2-1 to Italy.