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Aigbogun: I Am In The National Team To Make Name Not Money


Are you a desperate football agent with the intention to storm Togo, venue of the Under-20 WAFU championship? If your answer to this question is yes and your first port of call is the hotel le Pelican, camp base of the Flying Eagles, then be ready to face the Togolese police acting under strict instructions from Flying Eagles chief coach, Paul Aigbogun.

He has been labelled a business man and called all sorts of names by those who are quick to draw up conclusions after he released a list of 20 players, comprising of 11 unknown rookies picked from some notorious academies across Nigeria.

In a telephone conversation with NSM, the former Warri Wolves and Enyimba FC chief coach, denied all the allegations, stressing that all the players selected for this championship were picked on merit.

He was also quick to defend his assistants and backroom staff, saying no player made the team from the back door as screening was done in the open and selection was also done in the open. 

“We have nothing to hide he said. We are a gang and we work like a family. At the beginning we called for open screening where over one thousand players from the north, south, east and west showed up.

We started by making sure every player was given ample time to express himself. I personally told my assistant coaches that we must allow these players three days to acclimatise with our training regime and get themselves integrated into our plans.

Everyone who came, had his chance to convince us, and those that were not picked know, they were not just good enough. Perhaps they are the ones spreading this ungodly rumour of 200,000 naira bribe.

This is very unfortunate and if you must know, it got me very disappointed because i just could not imagine where this emanated from.

How much is 200,000 naira for crying out loud? I am in this job not to make money buy name. I want to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to a better tomorrow. I am here to build my own profile and will not allow these distractions affect me.

I called you because a few persons told me you are part of this family as former media officer of this team. After my appointment as chief coach, i consulted my predecessors, Samson Siasia and John Obuh for advice. I am one man who believes in consultations and will not stop at seeking advices on how to get better.

As for the players selected, i will like to say we went for the very best talents available. I am not one person that believes in using players from academies for the under 20 National team but we gave everyone including league players their chance and we are happy to tell anyone who cares to listen that we found several young players in the academies that are far better than what we see week in week out in the league.

I know that the agents will will chase us all the way to Togo and i have left strict instructions with security operatives to arrest anyone found loitering the hotel premises. I have also warned my players to stay away from the agents because we will not hesitate to send any player found culpable back to Nigeria.

There is also the allegation of us taking more Enyimba playere to this tournament. Unfortunately we didnt do that on purpose. As you know, Ikouwem Udoh is the captain of this team, Wasiu Alalade is the highest goal scorer in qualifiers and the likes of Ozornwafor Valentine and Effiom Maxwell have always been on the fringes.

The only new addition is Ernest Governor who was invited because of recent changes in the rules guiding the competition. This new rules forbades players within a particular age bracket and that affected our planning. We needed to fill a hole in the defence and Ernest Governor was the unanimous choice of all the coaches.

In anycase, we had three players from Kano Pillars in the team until Nasifi Yahaya and Alhassan went on trials abroad. Plateau united also had their fair share of players in this team before now, so this talk of favouring a particular club is very unnecessary.

We are in Togo to fly the Nigerian flag and we hope to give it our very best at all time. The ultimate is qualifying for the World cup and that is what we hope to achieve.

The WAFU championship will afford us an opportunity to see some new players and see how they blend with the first team players when we eventually converge for the Africa championship proper, he concluded”

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