Former Super Eagles star, Chinedu Obasi has revealed why he was not selected as a member of Nigeria’s squad to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The winger, who did not feature in any of the games in the qualifying series of the competition, claimed he was offered a place in the final squad but asked to bribe his way through.
33-years-old Obasi was a member of the team that played at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where he got injured and returned to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim where he played at the time.
Obasi recounted how no Nigerian official followed up on his recovery as he battled for long before getting back to shape.
Narrating how he felt about being asked to give a bribe before the 2014 edition, the winger said he was heartbroken especially because he played for a big club at the time and had ‘paid his dues’ as a patriotic Nigerian.
”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 disclosed in an Instagram chat with Kelechi Bernard as quoted by CSN.
“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. I was supposed to move from Hoffeinheim 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.”
Although the former Lyn Oslo of Norway player did not mention the names of officials that requested a bribe, the then coaches of the national team were the late Stephen Keshi and assistants Daniel Amokachi and Ike Shorunmu.
“It takes a lot of dedication, money, investing in myself and my body. I went through surgery, did everything I can. 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,” Obasi continued
“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.
“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.”
Obasi, who once played for Enugu Rangers during his youth career, last played at Stockholm club, AIK – his third spell at the club.