Former Super Eagles Goalkeeper and Media Officer Idah Peterside has revealed the intricacies behind the scene that might be responsible for the recent national team bribery allegation saga.
Peterside explained in an interview with Comfort FM’s Mighty George that footballers’ agents act like pressure groups and sometimes influence the coaches’ decision after the main core of the team has been chosen.
“I know another case (I don’t want to mention names) where an Agent came and really wanted his player in the team. I don’t know whether he had given money or not.” The ex-international turned pastor said.
“They (Agents) are like bees. When we kept traveling from nations to nation, once you appear in France in the hotel you will see Agents. That is their job. They are a pressure group. You expect them to do that.
“When people say Agents influence…, that’s what they are paid to do. It is their job but if they offered bribes, I don’t know and if coaches received bribe, I don’t know.”
The 45-year-old, however, hinted that the activities of intermediaries might have formed the basis for the bribery claims made by a pool of senior national team players including Chinedu Obasi, Taye Taiwo, etc.
“I remember the list when we went to South Africa World Cup, I was the one that called the team list as the Media Officer. I had the list in my hand, I knew how many people that were going. We had one big challenge and the big challenge we had was Mikel Obi. He was injured and needed to be replaced. Also, Obafemi Martins. He had an issue and needed to be replaced. The accusations put out by these players could be right in the sense that there was a pressure group(agents).”
“You understand too that the Coach might get to a point where he says ” this person and the other person, who do I choose? Maybe the pressure group will win in that case.
When asked if any form of inducement was necessary to make case for the inclusion of such player, Peterside said:
“Only a foolish coach would do that. I do not know if they did because the bigger picture is about your career and your life. You know, it will be very not right.
“Where the pressure group comes in is in this instance; “invite my player to camp”. “Invite my player to camp” does not mean “take my player to the competition”.
He, however, revealed the selection process adopted during late Stephen Keshi’s reign but highlighted Taye Taiwo was not in his best form at the time.
“Look at the accusations. They drop me for this person, they ask me to give before I am taken. All through this, I was with the team, with Obasi, Taiwo and others. We all saw that at a particular point, these players were losing form. I remember the case of Taiwo for example, we will have a meeting concerning a particular player.
“Keshi(God bless him) was a disciplinarian and he had money so he wasn’t poor. I remember the case of Taiwo as I’m talking to you. I remember I was in England with the team with Echiejile. You remember Echiejile? Echiejile was coming at that time. When you look at Taiwo and Echiejile at that time you’ll find out that Echiejile was the new kid on the block”
“I was there twice; when it was time to make the Nations Cup and World Cup list and we will sit down and say “we have 30 players if you want to choose, give us 16. Everybody gives 16.
“We (backroom staff) will all choose our (best) 16. All the backroom staff will check everyone’s list to see the players that dominated and then it is compiled till it gets to 16.
When we say “Vincent,” everyone knew Vincent will be there, you will write Vincent so we will check every (one’s) list and confirm he is going or (any other person is going. Now when you get to sixteen, it stops there.
“It was now the prerogative of the Chief Coach and his Assistant to decide who are the next 6 to 7 (players) because we can’t do (their) jobs for them. In that case, they will look at that and say I think I need two defenders/goalkeepers. So when people say they offered money or we requested for money, it is a difficult thing to take”.