By Onochie Anibeze
Clemens Westerhof, the Dutch coach who won the Nations Cup for Nigeria in 1994, Qualified Nigeria for their first ever World Cup finals in USA ’94 and the man who made Nigeria the best football country in Africa before the plunge started when he left, has spoken on the final with Burkina Faso today.
“I’ll send my regards to Keshi and tell him how happy and excited I am that he is in the final of Africa Cup of Nations. When they appointed him I told Nigerians to support him. As a player, Keshi had leadership abilities. And when I was leaving Nigeria, I told him to get ready to take over.
He said, coach I have seen all the problems you have been facing and I’m not sure I can do it. I told him that he had to because he was the boss, the leader of the players.
He said, coach you are the super boss and you know how to get things done. I told him that he had equally learnt well and should be able to lead Nigeria well. He was in Togo and Mali and now a man. I’m happy about what is happening today. And now the cup is coming to Nigeria, I tell you. It is coming, 100 per cent.
Keshi, Amokachi and the man who played in Portugal (Sylvanus Okpala) all played for big clubs and should know how to handle big occasions. They have a good team.
Victor Moses is good, excellent player. They will play against a team that has hard workers. Burkina Faso players work very hard. They have players who work and work and are not tired of working.
But if you compare the technical abilities of the two sides, Nigeria is better. Nigeria has better players but Burkina Faso has harder workers. Therefore, Nigeria must score first. They must score, say 2-0 and the game is over. That is what they must do. I am sure Keshi knows what to do. Nigeria is the most important football country in Africa and the country must prove it. I’m happy this is happening. Send my regards to Nigerians and tell them the cup is ours.”
At Tunisia ’94, he repeatedly told the media “the cup is us”. He meant ‘ours’.
He said the same thing Friday evening but this time the word was right. Westerhof spoke from his base in Arhnem, Holland.