Despite an illustrious international career that highlighted him in all categories of Nigeria's national teams, Benedict Akwuegbu said sensationally Completesports.com who now regrets representing his homeland in international football, instead of Austria, which also offered him a great opportunity.
Akwuegbu reiterates that, after a rewarding 16-year career in Nigeria's green-white-green colors, the country does not seem to like him.
The former Austrian Grazer AK striker says the thought of his efforts unrecognized by the Nigerian Football Federation hierarchy makes him regret choosing to serve the country after Austria tried in vain to convince him to change his loyalty international to the European nation.
"It is so sad that after serving my homeland, the authority of football does not seem to appreciate or acknowledge my efforts," Akwuegbu said in an exclusive interview with Completesports.com.
“It makes me feel sorry for playing for the Super Eagles. It makes me blame myself and ask myself why I rejected Austria, which was on top of me, to play for the national team, which I rejected in preference to Nigeria.
“If I had known that I would be treated this way, perhaps I would have been much wiser. But then, this is the prize I have to pay for being a patriot, maintaining my love for the green, white and green colors of Nigeria. "
Akwuegbu added: “To this day, Austria still shows me love, they still recognize me to such an extent that I now wonder what it would have been like if I had adopted their nationality and represented them at the senior level.
"I'm just being honest with my conscience. I'm not against the leadership of the NFF. They are doing their best and, obviously, they can't carry it all together.
“But then, the field is big enough to increase the team [coaches] number. You have the Super Eagles, U-23 Olympic Eagles, Flying Eagles, U-17 Golden Eaglets. You also have women's teams – Super Falcons, Falconets and Flamingoes (Under-17).
“You can name a former international for each of these teams. In doing so, no one would complain. You have ex-Eagles stars like Taribo West and others who gave their all to Nigeria, but who are now not recognized or engaged. Is not fair."
Akwuegbu would go on to classify the 2000 Super Eagles class on the same pedestal with his colleagues in 1994. He acknowledges that the two teams represented the best assembly ever of the Super Eagles in terms of talent and team quality, but says that only luck has denied to the 2000 team the Africa Cup of Nations trophy, after losing to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on penalties at home. .
"In 2000, we had a mix of the gold medalists from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and also some of the 1994 Super Eagles of Nations winning teams and World Cup debutants," he said.
"It was a very strong team, like the one in 1994. It was unfortunate that we didn't win AFCON that year because we lost on penalties to Cameroon in the final." You know, penalties are nobody's game, it's a matter of luck, because it's a lottery, it can be anyways.
“Cameroon at that time was a very strong team, everyone knows that. But we fight well. We had a solid and fantastic team, I must say. "
Akwuegbu represented Nigeria at all levels. He first appeared in the Under-17s – the Golden Eaglets. He represented the country in the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals, which took place in Scotland in 1989, although he did not have the chance to play in any of the group's three games and in the tie in the second round.
He also represented Nigeria at the U23 level, playing in the 1991 African Games in Egypt before participating in the 1993 CAF U-20 Championship in Mauritius with the Flying Eagles.
Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained on Completesports.com may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authorization of Completesports.com.