I’ve been following this back and forth between former Super Eagles midfielder Raheem Lawal and ex-international Daniel Amokachi.
Lawal accused Amokachi (then Eagles assistant coach) of being responsible for his drop from the team which eventually won the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.
He claimed, among other things, that Amokachi wanted to take players he could market and sell instead. Worse, he accused Amokachi of dropping him because he was the only Yoruba player in the team. He also roped Goalkeeper trainer Ike Shorunmu in for not standing up for him despite the fact that they’re both from Mushin.
Hear him: “Amokachi you dropped me last minute of 2013 AFCON because you want (sic) to sell some players to Super Eagles. But remember that your children have started playing football. Keep resting in peace big boss Keshi.
“Funniest part is that they called the list three times because Amokachi wants (sic) me out from the squad. Even the Super Eagles goalkeeper trainer Ike Shorunmu from Idi Oro Mushin could not fight for me. Local Mushin boy and only Yoruba for (sic) the squad then who have (sic) nobody in the team then.”
Amokachi has since responded. Same as Shorunmu. They both blamed Lawal for his attitude which they claimed to be responsible for why he was dropped.
“For me 100 percent when names were mentioned on who could take over from Jay Jay Okocha, Raheem was the closest to him and that is the truth,”Amokachi stated on Monday in an interview on Brila FM.
“He was not in the right state as at that particular time and that was why we had younger players from the home-based team take his place. So, it was difficult for any player who was not in the right state or not doing well at that point with his club to make the team.
Shorunmu, according to the Punch newspaper, said: “I was not the Super Eagles coach at the time, I was just an assistant. Those who were not in the team then would not have known what happened there.
“He said he’s Yoruba and I didn’t fight for him. I’d like to challenge him to tell the world what sort of advice I always offered him in camp. He’s no doubt a good player but what about his attitude?
“I used to warn him to be calm and not be aggressive when certain decisions didn’t go his way. The late (Stephen) Keshi (then Eagles coach) loved him as a player but his attitude was his biggest problem.”
Like Shorunmu rightly said, outsiders may not understand what was going on in the team but, with the application of logical reasoning, we can successfully make some deductions.
One, Lawal based the reason for his being dropped on the fact that he’s Yoruba. In a tribe-sensitive country like Nigeria, this line of talk is sure to win you sympathy but I’m quick to note that this same technical crew that dropped you because of your ethnic origins knew you were Yoruba before they invited you in the first place. If they didn’t want you in the team, they won’t have invited you instead of going to the trouble of looking for a reason to drop you.
Two, that Lawal waited eight good years after the incident before coming out to speak about this smacks of mischief. That he also chose to leave Stephen Keshi, the head coach who made the call about who makes the team or not, to focus on the Assistant speaks to a likely unresolved personality clash between both of them.
Three, everyone talks about the player’s attitude and I’m sure it won’t be the first time we are hearing about his off-the-pitch antics, then something is definitely amiss. Besides, if Keshi loved you as attested to by Amokachi, Shorunmu, and yourself, yet he wasn’t convinced to take you to the AFCON, then the problem may actually be closer than you think. It is what stares at you when you look in the mirror.
Fourth, the team that was selected went on to win the competition so it means the coaches were justified with the players they went with. If they’d lost, there probably might have been enough grounds to roast them for leaving a superstar who could have won the Cup at home. But, as it were, the end justified the means, didn’t it? You were simply not missed.
Finally, resorting to victimhood on the basis of tribalism is super low. It may win you fleeting sympathy but a rigorous interrogation of facts over emotion will ultimately leave you looking worse than you actually are.
After eight years with so much has happened in the intervening years, my advice is to let go and allow sleeping dogs to keep resting in peace.