Bribery Allegation: More revelations trail 2014 World Cup squad as Michael Uchebo, Imoh Ezekiel paid for inclusion
More revelations have trailed the recent statement made by former Super Eagles winger, Chinedu Obasi that he was asked to pay money for his name to be included in the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad in Brazil.
Juliet Mafua, a journalist with BBC Africa, tweeted that a national team player who is her friend told her in 2014 that one of the NFF officials asked him to pay $10,000 before he can make the final list of players traveling to the World Cup.
According to the report, the player is identified as Imoh Ezekiel, who played for Standard Liège in Belgium, scored 15 goals in 2013/2014 season but revealed that someone in higher authority at the NFF paid for Michael Uchebo who played for Cercle Brugge but now with Enugu Rangers for a place at the World Cup.
Mafua also claimed that Ezekiel showed her receipt of payment at the time and calls the 2014 World Cup list “bloody.”
Reacting to the allegation, Ben Alaiya, who was Media Officer of the team during the summer World Cup in Brazil, told Allnews that Ezekiel was not competitive enough to make the team and was dropped from the final list.
Still wonder how Michael Uchebo made the cut in 2014?— Juliet Mafua (@julietmafua) May 10, 2020
Well, I know this first hand.
My friend who played in Belgium at the time and was the league’s highest goal scorer, told me one of the officials asked him to pay $10,000. He saw his name on the World Cup list 1/4 https://t.co/oSPbJBQXRN
“If you are not competitive enough, you are dropped. Has he (Ezekiel) been invited before? That was the only time he was invited (his first call-up was in February 2014). He didn’t go to the Nations Cup. This Imoh Ezekiel you are talking about.
“He was invited to come and try his luck, and his luck failed him. And he was dropped.”
Despite Ezekiel finishing the 2013/2014 Belgian Jupiler League as top-scoring Nigerian, Alaiya said: “it doesn’t matter.”
“You can come to the national team and you are not scoring one goal. So, players are like that. You can play well for your club and falter at national team level.
“So, if you are not consistent, you might miss out on international tournaments.”
Stephen Keshi was the coach that led the Super Eagles to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which the team qualified from their group but lost 2-0 to France in the knockout stage.
Players who were invited to the tournament are:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United).
Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco), Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod), Joseph Yobo (Norwich, on loan from Fenerbahce), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Ramon Azeez (Almeria), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Shola Ameobi (Newcastle), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge), Peter Odemwingie (Stoke), Victor Moses (Liverpool, on loan from Chelsea), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen).
Notable names to have been omitted from the squad include Sunday Mbah, who scored the winner at the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa, John Utaka, Ikechukwu Uche, Chinedu Obasi, Victor Obinna, Joel Obi, and others.
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