Daily Trust (Abuja)

22 November 2012

Nigeria: Akpoborie - Bribe Revelation Explains My Eagles Shut Out

Jonathan Akpoborie has said a recent revelation that players paid to play for the Eagles explains why he was often overlooked by the team.

Former Nigeria coach Clemens Westerhof has said players paid coaches huge sums of money so as to play for the national team.

Akpoborie, now 44, played only a dozen games for Nigeria even though he was one of the country's top stars in Europe for several years and he told MTNFootball.com that he now believes that he did not establish himself in the national team at the height of his playing career because he did not bribe the coaches.

"Well I am not surprised at all about what Westerhof said that players paid their way to play for Eagles. I always knew there was something wrong somewhere after I was left out of the team to the 1998 World Cup in France because I was the best Nigerian player in Europe at the time, scoring 23 goals in all competitions for my club," said the former Wolfsburg striker.

"I scored seven goals in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and played in the final, where we lost to Chelsea.

"I guess that's why I did not feature often enough for the Super Eagles because with a record of six goals in 12 games for Eagles, I should have been a regular in the team.

"I debuted for the Super Eagles at 1995 US Gold Cup and I played against Mexico and Colombia. We played a goalless draw against Colombia and we lost 2-1 to Mexico where I opened scoring against the great Jorge Campos.

"Then came the next two goals in Turkey, in a friendly that was not advertised then. We played 2-2 and I got both goals."

He added: "This has been one of the reasons Nigeria have not achieved their full potentials.

"I am very happy by this revelation because everybody can now read between the lines. Most of the people in the system have always been economical with the truth. But the truth cannot be covered up forever."

Akpoborie played in Germany for over 12 years beginning from 1990. He featured for several top clubs including Hansa Rostock, VfB Stuttgart and Wolfsburg.

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