Daniel ‘The Bull” Amokachi is a phenomenal name as far as football in Nigeria and beyond is concerned.
Among other things, Amokachi spoke of his desire to see his twin boys (Nazim and Kalim) play for Nigeria in the nearest future even though they are already being courted by Tunisia where their mother hails from.
How do you feel with how the January Transfer window went as far as it concerns Nigerian players?
Amokachi: If no clubs look for you, you not going to move, so it is the players that were looked for that moved, but the good thing about it, we Nigerians, especially me, is that Ideye has moved to Malaga in the Spanish League and also Success too because for me he (Success) is one of the sexiest players Nigeria has ever had but he is injury-prone and never gets to see the potential that young man has. If we can have him healthy and well, he can be a vital addition.
What of Ahmed Musa leaving the EPL to rejoin CSKA Moscow in Russia?
Amokachi: It is what he wants, and he is back to Moscow. I hope he finds his feet the way he didn’t find at Leicester because he could have easily been one of the best players to play in the Premier League because his style of football is what the Premiership wants.
You coached in Nigeria before switching to Finland, how is it like over there?
Amokachi: I am enjoying every side of it, the only thing I can tell you is that it is more professional, very different from the Nigerian setup.
What is your take on Nigerian players rushing abroad at the slightest chance?
Amokachi: In our society, we have to jump in and try to take care of our loved ones. 99.9% of Nigerian footballers are from poor backgrounds. So if you are doing well and you have a call to go out, why not?
What is your advice to these players if they must go out because some end up being stranded when they don’t land the deals they wished for with some of these clubs?
Amokachi: What I would advise is that players must be ready to go out because there is no point not being prepared when going for trials, then failing, then not getting teams and end up being stranded all over the world and we know what is going on when you travel and you see such players that you know have quality but they have followed another path because they just could not find their way back home after they failed.
So how are your twins doing, we know they were signed on by one of your former clubs, Besiktas?
Amokachi: Twins? They are doing pretty well in Besiktas, they are with the U23 team, we are trying to see if they can play the professional angle of it because, in Turkey, they leave the foreign slot for professionals. Right now, however, they are working very hard and we hope that soon, they will get the opportunity to play in a place where they can give a good account of themselves.
Having seen them start out in one of your former clubs, will you be glad to also see them move on to play for Nigeria like you did several years ago?
Amokachi: Definitely, that would be my dream, their mum’s dream, even their dream because their heart is with Nigeria. Last year, they turned down the opportunity to be capped by Tunisia, hopefully, that call will come up for them and we would see what God has in store for them.
Let’s talk about the World Cup, what are the chances of Nigeria having a good show in Russia?
Amokachi: Qualifying is one thing but the World Cup proper is a different ball game. The most important thing is that our players should be healthy and have enough playing time in their respective clubs because that will definitely tell when it comes to the World Cup.
Nazim and Kalim Amokachi
Can you set any target you want the Super Eagles to reach in Russia?
Amokachi: I cannot have a target for the team going to the World Cup but it is our hope, belief and prayers for them to get to the next level.
You know as I said earlier, the qualification went smoothly and we have the quality that can take us to the final.
I have confidence that this team can take us to the next level, like the quarter-final or even win the World Cup.
We have players from the diaspora who have gone through the ranks to get to where they are.
They are also professionals which means they will take on the job with all level of seriousness.
The players from Nigeria, I mean who went through the Nigerian Pro League too would want to give their best when they see the rest of the team giving in their best.
So what advice do you have for the players as we get set for the 2018 World Cup?
Amokachi: You don’t advise grown-up players, you don’t advise a team that has a technical bench. Yours is just to pray and hope and wish them the very best. So far, they are making Nigeria proud and we want them to continue to make Nigeria proud.
What is your take on the recently launched Nigeria jerseys for the World Cup?
Amokachi: It is a cool design but let me tell you, there’s no design that can beat the one we wore in ’94. I love this Zebra style design though; it is a sexy jersey and I will make sure to get mine soon but that green one, I would not wear because the colour doesn’t represent the Nigerian green but it looks well fitted, looking sexy on the players wearing it.
Do you fancy yourself handling your former club Everton if the chance pops up?
Amokachi: I would swim across oceans to go and take the job.