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Why I’ve been ‘silent’ for 35 years – Onigbinde

Veteran coach Adegboye Onigbinde who took the Super Eagles to win their first AFCON silver medal in 1984 has given a hint to the direction his memoirs would take when published. No doubt, it is going to be a collection of some very explosive contents that could shake the very foundation of Nigerian nay African football. All these are still top secrets the Modakeke-born chief is keeping close to his chest.

Adegboye Onigbinde
Adegboye Onigbinde

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Just the other day, Chief Onigbinde told listeners on a radio programme that the final match of the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations in Abidjan was fixed. He was in charge of the Super Eagles who took on Cameroon in that final. Chief Onigbinde confirmed to this reporter that his team was geared towards winning that final, but for the negative influence “of one big man from Nigeria” who sabotaged them.

For 35 years, Chief Onigbinde had been quiet about it. Even now that he has shown courage to talk, he has refused to mention names.

“I still don’t want to die,” Chief Onigbinde, who is over 80, explained. “I have everything, all the details in my memoirs when the time comes, you will get all the details there.”

He said he feared for his life as the big man who sent someone to Abidjan to sabotage the team was ‘powerful’.

“When the person came to Abidjan, the man approached three key players in the squad with money. That was how they sabotaged us. My team could have won the title,” Onigbinde said.

However, he still holds sour memories as, despite his winning silver at AFCON, he was relieved of his job on return.”That was the reward I got for being the first Nigerian, indeed the first coach, local or foreign to win an AFCON silver with the Eagles.”

On Rohr, coach Onigbinde said if his employers, the NFF were happy with him, he had nothing against the man. However, he frowned at both the NFF and Rohr for not to have given the Eagles a chance.

“NFF and Rohr achieved their AFCON target. Rohr in particular wrote his team off before the tournament began. “Before the tournament, he rated his own team out of reckoning. NFF President said he was satisfied with his work and that they would keep him, no problem.”

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