The former Borussia Dortmund star insisted Clemens Westerhof’s Super Eagles had everything to have ruled the world
Sunday Oliseh has claimed Nigeria had the ‘ingredients’ to win the 1994 Fifa World Cup staged in the United States of America.
Clemens Westerhof’s team – considered as the greatest assemble of Super Eagles – scaled Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria hurdles to qualify for the global football showpiece for the first time ever.
27 years later, the former Borussia Dortmund star still feels that specific Nigeria squad had the quality of becoming the first African side to win the World Cup.
“I still think we had the potential to win that year,” Oliseh told Fifa website.
“All the ingredients were there, but the overall circumstances weren’t in our favour.
“At any rate, it had nothing to do with our squad, which had the talent to go all the way.”
Heading to the competition as African champions, the team that paraded the likes of Rasheed Yekini, Peter Rufai and Emmanuel Amuneke made a winning start after defeating Bulgaria 3-0 in Dallas.
Their second match against Argentina ended in a 2-1 defeat despite taking an eighth-minute lead courtesy of Samson Siasia.
A 2-0 defeat of Greece at the Foxboro Stadium ensured that they finished as Group D winners but they had to negotiate their way past Italy to reach the last eight.
Sadly, gli Azzurri sent them packing from the competition following a 2-1 defeat after extra-time thanks to a Roberto Baggio brace.
Two years later, Oliseh made the Nigeria U23 team that won the gold medal in the football event at the 1996 Olympic Games.
He talked about what it meant to have come out victorious ahead of favourites Brazil and Argentina.
“It’s not something you can foresee. Given the way we’d won, we weren’t surprised, but we felt an ecstatic joy that we’d never experienced before,” he added.
“It’s good to win the Africa Cup of Nations, for example, but when you win the Olympics, you’re considered as world champions.
“On top of that, we’d beaten teams like Brazil and Argentina to do it, and the quality of those teams means that our gold medal has a special worth.
“I still get goosebumps today when I think about it. It’s not something you can predict when you start your career as a footballer.
“You tell yourself that gold medals are for other people. So, when you win one, it’s just an indescribable joy.”
After a successful football career, Oliseh went into administration managing Nigeria and Fortuna Sittard between 2015 – 2018.