At least nine registered members of the Super Eagles of Nigeria squad at the 2000 African Nations Cup (AFCON) in Ghana and Nigeria were left out of Thursday’s repeat of that year’s tournament final.
The likes of captain Sunday Oliseh, Furo Iyenemi, Gbenga Okunowo amongst others missed the historic event organized by flag bearers of the international Plantain and Banana festival project happening this week in Southwest Cameroon.
Reports emerging from reference Nigerian outlet, BSNSports.com.ng have it that proceeds related issues amounted to the ommission of a handful of the Nigerian legend at the eleventh hour of the game Cameroon won by 3-1.
According to our sources, the National Association of Cameroonian Footballers (ANFC) headed by founder Lucien Mettomo had been contacted to get their peers of Nigeria for a repeat of the 2000 AFCON final.
The famous event, in which the Indomitable Lions defeated Super Eagles on penalties after a 2-2 regulation time score line to lift the title at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos was the festival’s main attraction.
The Association in a letter dated 6th October, 2023 and quoted by www.bsnsports.com.ng asked Daniel Amokachi to compile the list of the players in the squad, get their contacts across for the Association to be able arrange their flights, accomodation and other important things to make them available for the testimonial game holding November 30, 2023, with Five Thousand US Dollars ($5,000) as match bonus.
“On the occasion of the second edition of international Plantain Festival currently being celebrated in Cameroon, from November 30 to December 3, 2023, in Limbe to which the Super Eagles of Nigeria are invited for a nostalgic remake of the Final of CAN 2000 against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on November 30 of the current month,” the letter read.
“The arrival date of the players will be scheduled for November 28 with a return date on December 1. I hereby invite you to produce as soon as possible the list of players from the 2000 generation and also define the individual participation bonus set at $5,000,” the letter continued.
Reports emerging from Nigeria have it that there is growing discontent from players that were not picked for the game.
“On Monday, I was contacted by my Cameroonian friend who is based in Belgium with me that a match which involves Super Eagles of Year 2000 African Nations Cup and their Cameroonian counterparts will be played on Thursday (today) in Limbe and he was surprised to hear that I didn’t know anything about the game. He then contacted one of the organisers of the match. On hearing that I was not invited, he shouted and asked why I was omitted. I told him I don’t know why,” Belgium-based ex-international, Furo Iyenemi explained in an interview with www.bsnsports.com.ng.
“Sometimes I am ashamed of the way Nigerians behave. I and other players who were part of the Super Eagles that were registered for the competition and are still alive, but we are being replaced with those who have not been playing for the team,” the 45-year-old former Servette, PSG and FC Sion man explained.
BSN Sports also quoted, former Barcelona and Super Eagles right-back, Gbenga Okunowo, who express the same feeling of disappointment.
“Yes, Daniel Amokachi contacted me two weeks ago, that there will be a match between Super Eagles of Year 2000 Cup of African Nations Vs Cameroon players that played in the same tournament. But till now, I didn’t hear anything again until Wednesday afternoon (yesterday) when one of the players that was sidelined called my attention to it that the match would be played tomorrow (Thursday).
“If a senior player like Daniel Amokachi can do this, then, I am short of words because I can’t do such thing to a younger player. I am here in Barcelona, still alive and someone who was not part of the team was used to replace me,” the Spain based legend said.
Sunday Oliseh, Mutiu Adepoju, Celestine Babayaro, Benedict Akwuegbu, Furo Iyenemi, Finidi George, Ike Shorounmu, Gbenga Okunowo, Efetobore Sodje took part in 2000 tournament but missed Thursday’s game.
We understand Babayaro declined the invitation for personal reasons.
Meanwhile the likes of Joseph Yobo, Peter Rufai, Emmanuel Emenike, Sunday Mba, Obinna Nwaneri, Elderson Echejile, Vincent Enyeama, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, and Daniel Amokachi were added into the squad of the 2000 AFCON to produce the great spectacle on the historic evening.
Cameroon too didn’t have. Souleymanou Hamidou, Alioum Boukar, Wome Nlend Pierre, Njanka Beyaka, Patrick Mboma, Lauren Etame Mayer and Geremi Njitap amongst of the great generation.
Samuel Eto’o, Bernard Tchountang and Ndip Tambe Robert scored to cancel the early lead Julius Aghahowa had given Nigeria in the game that ended 3-1 in favor of Cameroon.
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