Former Nigeria striker, Daniel Amokachi, has revealed that he and his teammates were compensated with $20,000 each, for pulling out of the Africa Cup of Nations event in 1996, which was staged in South Africa.
Amokachi had envisaged that the players could get up to $35,000 each from the then president, the late General Sani Abacha. He had calculated the amount based on the fact they were billed to play seven matches to the final and get $5,000 each as a bonus for every game.
Amokachi revealed on Brila FM that Abacha held a meeting with the team and told them that the issue with Nigeria and South Africa was just political and it had nothing to do with football.
“That year we knew we had a great team that can win the championship and we were already looking forward to a wonderful event in South Africa”, Amokachi said.
In the same vein, Former Super Eagles star, Tijani Babangida had also revealed that the Eagles missed the 1996 AFCON in South Africa because the late Abacha said he could not guarantee their safety.
Nigeria was the defending champion having won their second title at Tunisia in 1994. But after much deliberations, they decided not to travel to South Africa who was the host in 1996.
There was tension between Nigeria and South Africa after the Sani Abacha-led government was criticised for the killing of nine minority rights activists.
Babangida revealed that the team had a meeting with the Late Abacha. At the meeting, Abacha told the squad the federal government could not guarantee the team’s safety, but they could still travel at their own risk.
“He (Abacha) summoned us to Aso Rock and explained to us his problem with the rest of the world and also with South Africa,” Babangida said. “He said he could not guarantee our safety and believed they could reach us just to get to him.
“He, however, told us that we could go at our own risk but we decided to honour the father of the nation,” the former Ajax star added.
The Super Eagles were subsequently banned from the 1998 edition in Morocco but made a return at the 2000 edition which they co-hosted with Ghana.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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