By John Egbokhan
Former Super Eagles coach, Christian Chukwu has said that Austin Okocha should not be compelled to come out of retirement to salvage Nigeria from missing out on a place to among the 32 nations that would grace the soccer fields of South Africa, when the World Cup comes to Africa for the first time in 2010.
Chukwu, who captained the Green Eagles, as they were then called in the 80s, to their first Nations Cup triumph at the National Stadium in Lagos, was speaking against the backdrop of the growing groundswell of calls for Okocha to dump retirement and play for the team once again due to what some perceive as the lack of dynamism in the midfield.
But the former Harambee Stars of Kenya coach, feels that those calling Okocha to rescind his decision, are panic-stricken and should be called to order for the sake of growth and the evolution of a better team.
â€œI am somehow surprised that some people are calling on Okocha to come out of retirement to play for the Super Eagles, almost about two years after he retired from international football. This is an unnecessary distraction because we cannot be going backward to move forward.
â€œOkocha was gifted player during his time and it was him that voluntarily said he was retiring from the game and since his retirement, the Eagles have achieved some feats, which were possible through the efforts of these players.
â€œI understand that these players are yet to peak but they cannot get to the expected height in some months, it takes time, patience and belief for them to become super stars and I am confident that they would get there.
â€œBut when we want someone who had kissed the game goodbye to come back and play because we are scared, we are sending wronging signals which can be harmful. So it is better to allow these players to learn the ropes so that our future can be rosy than for us to just go for the shortcut, which is by no means guaranteedâ€, added Chukwu, weekend at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.