This Day (Lagos)

22 May 2002

Nigeria: Finidi Writes Off Eagles

Lagos — Axed winger Finidi George has claimed that the Super Eagles will fail at the World Cup because the squad is in poor spirits.

"I hope for the best but it will be a miracle if we reach the second round," he told onefootball.com after being excluded from coach Adegboye Onigbinde's 23-man squad.

"I know the atmosphere in the squad is bad and that's going to harm us," he explained.

The Ipswich Town star claimed Onigbinde had omitted him for the wrong reasons. "I sincerely believe I should have been picked to go to the World Cup.

"I know there was a lot of pressure for certain players to go but there are a handful who weren't part of the coach's original plans who sneaked in."

He was also incensed by a lack of communication. "I'm very disappointed with the way I've been treated. I've played for the national team for years and I at least expected more respect.

"I understand each coach chooses the players he wants but Nigeria has not been fair to me. I haven't even been given an explanation," he added.

The Nigeria press blamed the omissions of Finidi, Sunday Oliseh and Tijani Babangida on the internal revolt waged against former boss Shaibu Amodu at the African Nations Cup in Mali in March.

Finidi is convinced such reports persuaded Onigbinde to drop him. "Lots of things were said in Mali and the majority of them were incorrect. I didn't lead any campaign and now those rumours have seriously harmed me. This is not the way to help Nigeria."

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