Super Eagles: Ifeanyi Udeze debunks agreement to boycott 2002 World Cup

Super Eagles: Ifeanyi Udeze debunks agreement to boycott 2002 World Cup

- Super Eagles crashed out of the 2002 World Cup at the group stage

- Adegboye Onigbinde led-team finished at the bottom of Group F behind Sweden, England, and Argentina

Ifeanyi Udeze who was part of the Nigerian squad has debunked claims that players agreed to boycott the championship

Former Super Eagles defender Ifeanyi Udeze has debunked claims that there was an agreement among players to boycott the 2002 World Cup for some reason.

The 39-year-old made his debut at the global football showpiece under former coach Adegboye Onigbinde where Nigeria failed to progress beyond the group stages.

Chief Onigbinde was hired by the Nigeria Football Federation barely three months before the start of the championship who dropped about 10 experienced players in the team.

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According to, the former Shooting Stars handler was said to have claimed that there were some quarters who vowed to truncate the Country’s campaign in Japan should some players from 2002 AFCON were dropped.

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Furthermore one of the players who prosecuted the 2002 AFCON championship in Mali recounted how he was betrayed by those who failed to implement the boycott plans.

Reacting to these claims, Udeze insisted that there was no agreement among players to boycott the world cup if any senior player was dropped.

Onigbinde dropped the likes of Sunday Oliseh, George Finidi, Victor Ikpeba, Tijani Babangida, Wilson Oruma and Yakubu Aiyegbeni from his 23-man squad for Nigeria’s second-ever world cup tournament.

There was no such agreement among players, none that I know of, that we would boycott the World Cup if certain members from the AFCON in Mali were dropped,’ said Udeze.

"Come to think of it, 2002 was my first opportunity to play at the World Cup.

"The dream of every footballer is to play at the world cup, the biggest football tournament in the world. How could I have agreed to boycott it because some other person was dropped?

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"I was 21 at the time but how certain was I to make another World Cup if I passed off the chance to join the 2002 squad. And as fate would have it I got injured later in my career and did not go to another world cup.’

"I have very close friends from that world cup who would tell you there was no such agreement; Aghahowa can vouch.’ earlier reported that Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr has acknowledged the receipt of new contract papers from the Nigeria Football Federation.

The German-born tactician's current deal with the country expires in the next two months and the bronze-winning coach at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations wants to extend his stay on the job.

Rohr was hired by the NFF in 2016 as a replacement for ex-international Sunday Oliseh and the 60-year-old seems to have been able to gain the trust of the players.

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