Tension behind Nigerian loss

2010-06-23 08:39

An altercation between Swedish coach Lars Lagerback and live wire

Peter Odemwingie after the match against Greece caused serious tensions within

the team that contributed to Nigeria being booted out of the 2010 Fifa World

Cup.

This was revealed by the player during an interview with

journalists at the stadium’s mixed zone area after last night’s match.

An annoyed Odemwingie said: “I asked him why he was not fielding me

and Obafemi Martins as I thought I would have contributed positively to the

team. I think that contributed to him not fielding me today and only introducing

Obafemi late in the game.”

The Lokomotiv Moscow player said he felt his and Martins’s

experience at the top level would have helped their country go through to the

last 16 of the tournament.

“But he is human, I think he took my complaint personally,” the

player continued, “now he must explain to the nation why Nigeria did not go

through to the next round. I don’t dispute the fact that he is a good coach but

I think he did not understand our style of play and he played a number of

players out of position.”

The 28-year-old, who turns 29 on July 15 also lambasted fellow

players: “Some players did not behave as professionals. There were little and

petty differences within the team that could have easily been avoided had all

players behaved in a professional manner.”

The coach, who took over from Nigerian Shaibu Amodu on the eve of

the World Cup, had earlier told the media that he was not certain of his

future.

Lagerback said: “It’s been a privilege for me to coach a team like

Nigeria. It was fantastic but what happens in the future is out of my hands as I

am not the one who will make the decision. My contract was for the World

Cup.”

His Korea Republic counterpart, Huh Jung Moo was over the

moon.

Jung said: “I am very proud of my players. They played to their

potential.”

He said anything was possible now that they had achieved their

first goal: “Our first goal was to qualify for the second round. Now that we

have achieved that, anything is possible. We can even reach the

semifinal.”

Asked about Uruguay, whom they face next, Moo said he had noticed

that the country was among the strongest from South America.

“They have fantastic and strong players such as Humberto Suarez,”

he said.

Overall, Jung said he was impressed with the performance of Asian

teams in the tournament: “The performance shows that we are closing the gap

between ourselves and the rest of the world.”



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