How much did each Super Eagles player get for successfully losing the World cup round of 16 match against the Azzurris of Italy in 1994?
This is perhaps one probing question that would require answers 36 years after Nigerians suffered the agony of losing a match they should have won.
The revelation came after former Super Eagles coach Bonfere Joe disclosed in a recent interview that the match against Italy was indeed sold for $100,000.
Joe did not only point fingers at his fellow Dutchman Clemence Westerhof who lead the Super Eagles to the 1994 world cup for rocking the deal, but surprisingly dared anybody who doubted the authenticity of his revelation to “ask the players”.
Joe who led Nigeria’s Olympic team to a golden outing in 1996 in Atlanta however did not say whether he was part of the deal as then the Assistant coach of the Super Eagles and how much he got.
“Yes Everyone blames the coach. The coach did something wrong and we lost before the game started,” Bonfrere revealed in an interview with Brila FM.
“He sold the game for $100,000, that’s why we lost against Italy. If you don’t believe, you can ask the players.”
If the Stephen Keshi captained squad were aware of the deal like Joe claimed, how much of the deal did they get? Is it possible for Westerhof to have pocketed the largesse alone even with the players aware of the deal as alleged?
Although Super Eagles outing at the World cup in 1994 in USA remains one of the bests so far, some believe squad then had all it takes to go beyond that round of 16 which appears to have become the highest point for Super Eagles in six world up appearances.
Recall that the three-time African champions were a minute away from recording a famous victory against the Azzurris after Emmanuel Amuneke had shot the team into the lead as early as the 25th minute before Roberto Baggio netted the equalising goal.
Baggio then compounded Nigeria’s woes with a strike from the spot in extra time to hand victory to Arigo Sacchi’s men. A victory would have seen Eagles face Spain who whitewashed Switzerland 3-0 in the quarterfinals. The Azzurris beat Spain 2-1 and made it all the way to the final where they lost 3-2 to eventual winners Brazil.