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Mike Idoko Says Eagles Were ‘Super’ When Westerhof, Keshi Were Nigeria National Team Coaches


Wakawaka Sports Extra.

Mike Idoko, a former Sunshine Stars of Akure and Lobi Stars of Makurdi General Manager, has posited that Nigeria’s senior men’s national team, Super Eagles, were only ‘Super’ during the reign of Dutch and, Cleese Westerhof and Stephen Keshi (of blessed memory) were in charge of the team.

Idoko reasons that during duo’s respective era incharge of the Eagles, the team was combative, attractive and result-oriented because it was a blend of domestic league players and foreign based players who were given enough camping for the players to bond and blend.

Westerhof arrived in Nigeria in 1989, took Super Eagles to silver medal finish in the 1990 Nations Cup in Algeria, finished third in Senegal ’92 AFCON and lifted the trophy in 1994 in Tunisia. Same year, the he took the Eagles to their first FIFA World Cup finals in USA ’94.

Similarly, Keshi, who was called ‘Big Boss’ during his playing days, and who was Super Eagles captain during Westerhof’s time as Eagles Manager, set the enviable record of lifting the AFCON trophy in 1994 as player, captaining Super Eagles at USA ’94 World Cup, then as coach, guided Nigeria to 2013 AFCON Title win in South Africa and took Eagles to the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil as Nigeria’s head coach.

“We had the best of results on the continental and global stages when Westerhof and Stephen Keshi (of the blessed memory) were in charge of the senior National Team, Super Eagles”, responds Idoko during a call-in program on radio.

“That was when the Eagles were truly ‘Super’. This is because Westerhof and Keshi, during their specific times in charge, took time to build the team, mixing in proper ratio, the home and foreign players in the team and kept them together for a reasonable time to blend.

“But now, it’s no longer the case, I mean, keeping players together, including players from the domestic league.

“Now what we see is a situation whereby players from different leagues across the World are brought in together to come and play. That understanding and team work are no longer ther”, lamented.

The one time Lobi Stars forward during his playing days made it clear he was speaking his mind and would not blink an eye in the face of any criticism from anyone.

“I’m talking from my own perspective. Some other people may criticise me for my position but question is; do we have enough time for these players to come together?

“We don’t seem to look at the time factor because bringing players from different leagues across the World to just come and play within a few days is difficult, you know.

“Then, the home base players that they are talking about, you want to give them opportunity, you should as well give them time to get that confidence. Like, if you have these tournaments like CHAN, you can get them to be there because they are hungry, they want to go to Europe. They want to play so that they could shine and be scouted.

“Of course, once they start playing well, the next thing you hear is that they have gone abroad, to Europe.

“So, we must have to do something that would encourage them, to keep them together. In a nutshell, they must have to be camped for a very long time so that they can understand each other instead of this fire brigade approach that we always have one week for the players to come in and two, three days, they play a game and disperse back to Europe”, Idoko submitted.


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