Former Nigeria goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu says the decision of former Super Eagles coach Clemens Westerhof to drop him from the USA 94 squad helped shape his career.
Shorunmu was dropped from the team in favor of Peter Rufai, Alloy Agu and the late Wilfred Agbonavbare for the World Cup by the Dutchman, as Nigeria went on to have a memorable competition.
The goalie, however revealed he was initially bitter about the decision, but later came round and it helped him in the long run.
“When I was in the national team as a goalkeeper during our first World Cup, I was part of the team alongside Aloy Agu, Peter Rufai, and Wilfred Agbonavbare,” Shorunmu said.
“On the final day of the team selection, Westerhof called me. He said, ‘I know you. You are a very good goalkeeper. But what I am looking for in this World Cup is experience. You are still young and have potential. I promise you, if everything should go on well, after the World Cup, I will recall you.'”
“This was because Rufai, Aloy and Agbonavbare were more experienced and they were at the peak of their careers then.”
Shorunmu added: “Initially, I was not happy. But when the truth dawned on me, I saw that he was right with the decision to drop me. They were more experienced than I was then and it eventually shaped my career.”
Shorunmu later became Nigeria number, but missed France 98 world cup through an injury. He returned to feature at the 2000 AFCON and 2002 AFCON.
He was also the first choice at 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan.