The former Super Eagles star was primed for greatness, but unfortunately, he had to call time on his career a tad early
Former Super Eagles star Daniel Amokachi has shed light on the injury that made him retire from football.
The Nigeria international forward was primed for greatness when he broke into the scene in the early ’90s while playing for Ranchers Bees.
The ‘Bull’, as christened by former Nigeria gaffer Clemens Westerhof made the squad to the 1990 Nations Cup at just 17 years of age.
With his consistent impressive displays, it did not take long for him to make the big move to Club Brugge in Belgium.
Whilst In Belgium, the former Super Eagles star thrilled the continent with his outstanding performances when he donned the green and white in the 1994 Nations Cup, which the Super Eagles won.
It was not a surprise that he later made the tournament team. His powerful style of play, beating opponents with his physical style, tinged with pace, often left opponents in tatters.
Just four years into his time in Belgium, Amokachi’s ability to dazzle with the ball earned him a move to Everton, where he won the FA Cup.
After two years in England, he moved to Turkey, where he became a regular for Besiktas.
However, his problems started when Nigeria were preparing for the World Cup in 1998. A knee injury which he sustained ruled him out from the competition in France.
At that time also, Nigeria lost its then head of state General Sani Abacha. Amokachi was closed to Abacha, and it appears the ex-president’s death, coupled with the injury he suffered ahead of the World Cup, affected his career.
“I have a good relationship with the Abacha family. I am like a son because of the military background that we have,” the 49-year-old former Everton striker said in an interview with ATHLST.
“About three days before the first game, we lost the General [Sani Abacha], two days later I got injured In training, I got a tackle, and my knee knocked.
“And that was the beginning of everything for me.”
“I just walked quietly to the locker room, and I was in the toilet crying like a baby till they finished warm-up and they came in.
“Fani Amu came with the other coaches, but I told them they should let me be.”
“They were expecting that everything would be okay, but after one season, I wasn’t feeling too well. I went under the knife again.”
” I went to Germany, and what they did wasn’t supposed to be what they should have done. But that’s fate, that’s how it’s been written, and then it happened.”
“You see players that get injured, they have surgery and rehab, and they start playing again, and that was what was in my head,” the Olympic Gold medalist continued.
“I started rehab, started training, playing, but it wasn’t the Bull. I felt I was, but people that were watching me knew it wasn’t me – because my style of play is about power, speed and a bit of skill.
“If that speed is not there, if that strength is not there, then it’s a mouse, not the Bull, and I felt it.”
The 49-year-old later left Besiktas in 1999 for short spells in the USA and Asia, but he had to retire at just 27 years of age.