I would say my memorable World Cups are the 1986 and 1994 World Cups. The 1986 World Cup mainly because of Diego Maradona who I adored and who was the standout player at the World Cup.
For the 1994 World Cup, that was when the Super Eagles qualified for the first time ever. But unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to be part of the team.
The last time I played for the Super Eagles was against Ghana during the qualifiers for the 1992 Cup of Nations in Senegal. The 1994 World Cup qualifiers started immediately after the 1992 Cup of Nations and (Clemens) Westerhof took over and it was drama all through. And I had that problem (false accusation of rape) in Belgium.
And in the Super Eagles, 90 per cent of the players that went to the 1994 World Cup were from Belgium. The late MKO Abiola and late Vice-President Augustus Aikhomu tried to make sure I made the squad but Westerhof refused. And I lost some of my Belgian friends that played the 1994 World Cup: Stephen Keshi, Uche Okafor to Thompson Oliha.
It would have been a different ball game if I had been part of the Super Eagles USA 1994 squad. Even (Austin) Okocha was always on the bench. Okocha was not established in the team, we (Belgian-based players) were the established players in the team then.
Like I said it would have been a different ball game because that is every players dream unfortunately my dream was caught shot. But in cases like this, you just have to put your faith in God because God knows best.
I was like a threat back then and I would have even been the captain of the team to the 1994 World Cup because Keshi was on the verge of retiring, may his soul rest in peace. But I was prevented from captaining the team and also prevented from going to the World Cup. But all the same I am alive today and I thank God.
Former Super Eagles star Etim Esin spoke with James Agberebi.