By Onochie Anibeze
Shortly after Austin Eguavoen warned Samson Siasia about the attitude of Eagles’ players, Mikel Obi, Vincent Enyeama and Victor Anichebe were seemingly proving him right.
Egavoen coached the Eagles before Siasia took over. He had described his experience with the players as “terrible” and warned that their attitude could pose stronger problems to Siasia than the opponents in match situations.
“They would fake injuries and fail to turn up at the last moment and even those who turn up may lack the commitment in executing matches,” Eguavoen said.
Wednesday night, as the Eagles made to leave on a chartered flight for Sunday’s Nations Cup match in Madagascar, the three players mentioned above turned nightmares to the technical crew and the federation.
The team had planned to leave by 8.30 pm after their original 1 pm departure time was rescheduled. The change afforded them time to train in the evening. Calistus Ebare, one of the spokesmen of the team captured what happened in Mitchel Obi’s popular Radio Programme, Peak Soccer Moment on Raypower yesterday. Calistus later spoke with this reporter. His words:
“Mikel complained about the flight arrangement that would see them stopping over in Congo or any other country to refuel. He wanted a direct flight and frowned at every arrangement the federation made. He refused to join the team bus as they made to leave for the airport. VictorAnichebe joined him.
They remained in their room. Vincent Enyeama was against traveling on Wednesday. He preferred Friday and wondered why officials fixed departure for Wednesday. He also would not join the rest in the bus.
Movement was delayed. Samson Siasia’s deputy, Simon Kalika, had to go upstairs to beg the players to join their colleagues. It was bad. The bus eventually left without them. The three players later showed up at the airport in another car. All these delayed their departure and they didn’t leave until 11 pm. That was a team that was scheduled to leave at 8.30 pm. The attitude of these players was not encouraging.
I’m sure that if Siasia was sure that Yobo and Ike Uche had landed in Madagascar and if there were no withdrawals due to injury, he would have dropped the three players because Kalika who went to beg them was even left behind at the hotel. He made his way to the airport later. What I saw wasn’t good. That’s not how to work for victory. I can’t say all is well with the team.”
On arrival from London for this assignment, Mikel Obi thanked Nigerians and the Federal Government for the concern everybody showed when his father was kidnapped by hoodlums three weeks ago. He said that he would, henceforth, show appreciation through dogged play for Nigeria. Could one reconcile his Wednesday night actions with his words on arrival?
Another top official of the federation said that the action of the players would be investigated.