Super Eagles of Nigeria most successful coach, Clemens Westerhof has charged the current crop of players to go all out and do the nation proud at the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Egypt, AOIFootball.com reports.
Westerhof, who spoke to AOIFootball.com in Abuja after receiving a 25-year deed to a house promised by the Federal of Nigeria after he led the class of 1994 Super Eagles to continental glory and first ever World Cup in the USA, said the country was blessed with abundant talents, both at home and abroad but all they need are discipline, good tactics and proper welfare from the Nigeria Football Federation.
“Nigeria has lots of wonderful players both at home and abroad, so it shouldn’t say we will win the Africa Cup of Nations in a few years’ time. No! Now is the time for Nigeria to win the Nations Cup.
“All the current team needs is discipline, good tactics from the coach and I want the foreign-based players to resume camp on time. The federation should also, most importantly, pay their allowances on time.
“During my time, I would never allow my players to be owed bonuses. If everything is placed, from the government support to the administrators and the players’ commitment, things would work out fine,” Westerhof said.
Nicknamed ‘Dutcherian’ because of his love for Nigeria, Westerhof went on to narrate a few of his experiences when he was with the superclass of ’94 Eagles.
“Players themselves must not make stupid demands like they did during my time when they wanted double bonuses before our match against Italy at the 1994 World Cup.
“Of course, I stood my ground to tell them no, that was not the deal. The agreement was $10,000 per match and you either accept it or I leave the team right here.
“Everything about the players must come on time but they also have to be patient. I have waited 25 years to get my promise from the Nigerian government, so they should learn patience and know what’s theirs will always come to them,” Westerhof revealed.
He also had a word for Coach Gernot Rohr and his team as they prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
“My advice is that the players and coaches must come together at least forty days before the Nations Cup. Coming together a few weeks to the tournament is not proper. The coach must have enough time to do something special with the players like I did with Jay Jay Okocha.
“Okocha was in bad shape when he came to camp back then and I told him we will do 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 meters of running after training. If you cannot make it, then you have to return back to where you came from. Okocha obliged and had a very nice World Cup, even though we were unlucky to exit in the second round.
“I believe Coach Rohr will handle the team well because he is a German and Germans are tough. The Nigerian team always gets distracted when they seem to be winning and then it will slip through their fingers. So, they need to stay focused and go for the trophy in Egypt,” Westerhof concluded.