Former Super Eagles winger Chinedu Obasi has claimed that he missed out on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil because he refused to bribe his way into the squad.
Just before the 2014 World Cup, Obasi made 19 appearances in all competitions for Schalke 04 and scored just three goals in the 2013/2014 season.
The forward however believed that he deserved to make the squad for the competition hosted by Brazil.
”I was playing for Schalke, I was playing in the Champions League and I was doing well. Two days before the list came out, I was asked to pay some money if I want to be in the team,” Obasi said in an Instagram chat with Kelechi Bernard.
Obasi went to say that he felt heartbroken and betrayed because of what he had paid his dues for his country and didn’t deserve to be treated like that.
He gave an instance of how he missed out on a transfer after suffering an injury on Super Eagles duty and spent his money to get himself fit.
“I felt like I’ve paid my dues for the country, I shouldn’t do this. If I was a young player, maybe I would have done that, but it was a bit personal for me and I felt very heartbroken,” the winger said.
“I was supposed to move from Hoffenheim to England and I got injured playing for Nigeria at the World Cup (2010 in South Africa).
“After that competition, nobody called me to know how I am doing. I spent a lot of money to get fit. All people talked about was the injury.
They don’t care to know what I went through on a daily basis making sure I get my body in shape.”
“It takes a lot of dedication, money, investing in myself and my body. I went through surgery, did everything I can,” he also said.
“Now a competition is coming up, you’re inviting me to the national team. I’ve exhausted my own money and you want me to pay, which is a slap in the face for me.
“I said I’m not comfortable doing that. They said I should know the system, and I should act like I’m a Nigerian. I said it’s not about being a Nigerian but doing the right thing.Chinedu Obasi made 26 appearances for the Super Eagles and played at two tournaments (AFP/Getty Images)Getty Images
“I’ve kept it close to my chest since 2014 because you’d have unnecessary enemies when you talk. People who played in lower leagues went to that World Cup. I’m not taking jab at anyone.
“If you’re good for the World Cup, then you should go, but I feel like if you have to take the best and at the time, I was playing for a top team, Schalke 04 which was among the top team in Europe at the time.
“Funny enough, after the conversation, it got a bit more personal. They told me that even if I end up going as part of the team, their own agent will negotiate that deal. I said it doesn’t sound good to me.”
Before the World Cup, Obasi had not played for the Super Eagles of Nigeria since October 2011 and didn’t play any part in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Late Super Eagles great Stephen Keshiwas the coach of the Super Eagles and led the team to a second round-exit of the 2014 World Cup.
Obasi’s claim has drawn reaction from every corner of Nigerian football including Minister of Sports Sunday Dare.
Dare has promised that similar allegations will be investigated. “The office of the football ombudsman will soon come on stream to deal with this. Thank you,” the minister said.
Obasi came into prominence as one of Nigeria’s best players at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, now called FIFA U20 World Cup.
In that tournament in the Netherlands, the forward scored three goals including one in the final that Nigeria lost to Argentina 2-1 to finish in second place.