â€¢Blames Eagles forÂ disaster, absolves Amodu, others
By Eddie Akalonu
Coach Tony Ukeachu has added his voice to the condemnation of the Eagles over the 2-2 drawÂ against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, saying they did not do enough to ensure victory in the game.
Comparing present day players and those ofÂ his generation, he said, â€œFor $10,000 as winning bonus in that game, as a defender that I was in my days, and at the point Nigeria led 2-1, and that game became critical in execution, no one needs tell the defenders who to mark out or take out of the game either by hook or crook.
It is however not so with players of these days, who sometime behave like amateurs. They should have broken the bones of two Tunisia attackers to get them off that game even at the expense of a red card, just to ensure that Nigeria came out of that match victorious. For one, there would be time lost between when a player or players I condemn their bones are taken off the pitch, time he (referee) takes again to issue me a red card and I walk out of the pitch.
But today what is happening, players earn so much but lack the sense or tactics required to executive the match. We never had so much money they get these days, but they lack what it takes to get what you want. But what did we get, we had players who did not know or understand the extent and seriousness of what we were in for and who in that game.
They just danced around the ball, pretending to entertain when that was never the objective. Go back to the final of the 1980 Nations CupÂ to see what Segun Odegbami did to score and the 1994 final how Amuneke won it for us, then you would realise what I mean. See how our defence tightened up when we led. People may condemn Christian Chukwu today but they will tell you as a defender how his days were. We donâ€™t have such players anymore even with all the pampering which we never saw in our days,â€ the former Spartans of Owerri captain and defender said.
â€œSo, my verdict is that Nigerians should lay more of the blames for the disaster on players and less on the coaches. The players had enough room and very goodÂ advantage to win that game but lost it. Let us tell ourselves the truth. I am a coach, when at interval you have given your instructions, it is left for the players to carry it out. No coach goes into the field to play. You may shout from the sidelines while the game is on but what do players hear under such tense situation. Those we pay so much, even after they drew in Tunis, have not comeÂ to aÂ realisation of what the pay back is,â€Ukeachu who coached at BCC Lions, Iwuanyanwu Nationale and Enyimba, said.