By Moses Adeyemi
Former Nigeria defender Taribo West has said that the poor treatment meted out to former national team players has engendered a curse on the fortunes of the Super Eagles.
Nigeria won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after 19 years but failed toqualify to defend the title this year.
West, a former AC Milan and Inter player, said that lack of care for former players who have died in penury has resulted in resentment
towards the national side.
“Administrators in the past committed a lot of atrocities against Eagles players and in anger these players cursed the team,” West told the Punch.
“Stephen Keshi led the Eagles to win the Afcon title two years ago through the grace of God. We all saw the problems the team encountered before winning the trophy in South Africa.
“Imagine a nation you served, you get injured and nobody cares; they dump you. Look at the way a player like [Rashidi] Yekini served the
team and died. It shouldn’t have been.
Somebody needs to go to his family and compensate them. [Sunday] Eboigbe has been paralyzed for years and nobody has gone to see him. Will you say such a man, who gave his best for his country, shouldn’t curse his country,” he asked.
While West was forced out of the national side himself, he says that he has now overcome the pain.
“I have forgiven them but look at the way I was sent packing from the national team. I spoke for the young players in the team, who didn’t have a voice and they banned me.
“Why won’t I be aggrieved? Since then they haven’t had a good defence,” he said.
West then urged the administrators to create a scheme for taking care of retired footballers who have played for the national sides as is done in Europe.
“Here there is nothing for ex-internationals. In all the countries I played in Europe, there are some monies like pension that I will collect when I attain a certain age because I paid my taxes while there. We don’t have such here,” he said.