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2010: David, Attahiru kick against Okocha, Shamaki wants him

By Wole Mosadomi
The recent suggestion  by the former Super Eagles winger, Adokie Amiesimaka to recall former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha to the Eagles camp for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa continues to generate different reactions from the public.

Former chairman, Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Association, Mallam Suleiman David has described the agitation by Amiesimaka for the return of  Okocha as unfortunate and embarrassing.

In an interview with Saturday Vanguard sports in Minna, the former NFA Technical Committee chairman said taking that step will negate the idea for the discovery of new talents and also make nonsense of the age group tournaments being organized by FIFA which is aimed at discovering new talents for the world.

He said coach Shaibu Amodu should be left alone to continue with the good work he has started, which is hunting for young and talented players which he said, is yielding good results. Suleiman said there is no doubt that Okocha was good but added  that since he retired voluntarily; he should be left alone, pointing out that he could be useful outside the game but certainly not inside any longer.

He cited his inclusion in the Presidential Task Force on the World Cup qualification as a big role and responsibility in which he could perform better than being in the team.

Mr. David described Okocha as a real motivator, very crafty and attacking midfielder but added that younger players like Mikel Obi, Sani Keita, Obinna Nsofor have been able to fill his vacuum.

According to him, “we cannot have two Okocha’s at the same time but we can build another Okocha by encouraging the younger players to take over from him”.

David who is presently Chairman Niger Tornadoes Football Club management committee said that  those who argued that Roger Milla of Cameroon who was recalled into the Indomitable Lions to play in the 1994 World Cup fail to recognize the fact that Cameroon has her own peculiarities and that unlike Cameroon, young talents abound in Nigeria than in any African country that can fit into the national team.

Speaking in the same vein, the Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Handball Federation, Mallam Garba Attahiru said Okocha should be left alone and allowed to rest after his meritorious contribution to soccer not only in Nigeria but the world at large.

“Honestly, we don’t need Okocha in the national team for now, let him retire as he has done and continue to rest. Does it mean if Okocha  dies today,(God forbid), we won’t play football again,” Attahiru queried. However Bala Shamaki, former Assistant Coach of the 1985 Under-17 that won the inaugural edition of the FIFA World Cup  in China, differ from David and Attahiru saying, “we need Okocha in the team even if he is to motivate the players and create sensation in the field.” Shamaki said that Okocha’s presence on the field could attract two or three defenders trailing him which could eventually create openings for other players to capitalize on and score.



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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.