Former Super Eagles and Schalke 04 forward, Chinedu Obasi, has revealed why he did not join the national team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, even when the opportunity to make the team was available.
Obasi alleged that the management of the team had requested he pays some amount of money as a form of bribe to be included in the squad but refused because he felt it wasn’t the right thing to do.
The 33-year-old, who was part of the silver-winning Flying Eagles squad at the 2005 U-20 World Cup, also rued the injury that denied him a move to England.
In a live Instagram chat with Kelechi Benard, Obasi said: “Two days before the list came out, I was asked to pay some money if I wanted to be on the team.
“I felt like I’ve paid my dues for the country if you understand what I mean. If you are a new player, I can get that. But for me, it was a bit personal and I felt very heartbroken because I got injured when I was supposed to move from Hoffenheim to England; and I got injured at the (2010) World Cup playing for Nigeria.
“After that competition, nobody called me or contacted me to know how I was doing. I spent so much money to make sure I got myself fit. All they talked about was the injury. Nobody knew what I went through on a daily basis making sure I got my body in shape and healthy to keep coming back.
“It took a lot of dedication, money, investing in myself and my body. I went through surgery, did everything I could. Now, the next competition comes up, you’re inviting me to the national team. I had exhausted my own money and you wanted me to pay to represent the country, which was a slap in the face for me.
“I said I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. They said I should know the system, and asked why I was acting like I am not a Nigerian. I said it’s not about being a Nigerian but doing the right thing.
“I never really talked about this since 2014; I just kept everything because at the end of the day, you are just going to have unnecessary enemies. People will feel like you are attacking them but that was actually the truth.
“People who played in lower leagues went to that World Cup. I’m not taking a jab at anyone.
“If you’re good for the World Cup, then you should go, but I feel like if you have to represent the country, you have to take the best and at the time if you are to name two or three players who were playing for top clubs, I was playing for a top team, Schalke 04, which was among the top teams in Europe at the time.
“Funnily enough, after the conversation, it got a bit more personal. They told me that even if I ended up going as part of the team, their own agent would negotiate the deal. I said it doesn’t sound right to me.”
Meanwhile, the minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, while reacting on the issue on Twitter said he would look into it.
“The office of the football ombudsman will soon come on stream to deal with this. Thank you,” he tweeted.