NFA Tried Sacking Westerhof Before ’94 World Cup – Oliseh

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Former Super Eagles captain, Sunday Oliseh has revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation (then Nigeria Football Association) tried sacking Dutch coach Clement Westerhof before the 1994 World Cup.

In his book, Audacity to Refuse, Oliseh said Westerhof informed him of this before the team played Zambia in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations final – a game they won to lift the AFCON for the second time.

According to Oliseh, the Dutch begged him to shake off injury and play in the final as the team had no replacement for him.

“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 were 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.

Westerhof led the Eagles to the Round of 16 of the 1994 World Cup in the US, losing 2-1 to Italy after extra time.

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