The Dutchman, who coached the Eagles from 1989 to 1994, had alleged that some players paid as much as $15, 000 to coaches to play for the Eagles. But he refused to mention names.
“I have nothing to defend because I don’t know anything about it. Let him (Westerhof) come and mention names. Maybe he started it because he should know what he is talking about,” Adegboye Onigbinde, who coached Eagles to the 1984 Africa Nations Cup and the 2002 World Cup, said.
Christain Chukwu, who captained the Eagles to their first Nations Cup triumph in 1980, also dared Westerhof to reel out the names of coaches who collected bribes to field players in the national team.
“Why didn’t he mention anybody? It is not true; he has to mention those involved,” Chukwu, who was Westerhof’s assistant before becoming the Eagles’ head coach, said.
However, former Eagles striker, Jonathan Akpoborie, says the issue has been lingering on for a long time.
He said, “This issue has been around for a long time. Till today, players still pay to play in the national team. The issue is, why is Westerhof talking now?
“I should have been at the France ’98 World Cup but nobody gave me a reason for being dropped. All the attackers that were taken to the World Cup that year were below par. So why did they drop somebody like me, who helped my club (VFB Stuttgart) to reach the UEFA Cup Winners Cup final that same year?”
Former Nigeria midfielder, Etim Esin, said bribery “is very rampant in Nigeria. They don’t pick talents anymore. Westerhof succeeded because he brought in the likes of (Daniel) Amokachi and (Sunday) Oliseh and dropped most of us playing in Europe at that time.
“It didn’t happen in my time, we were picked on merit but now, if you can’t bribe a coach, you won’t be selected. It’s shameful.”
But Atlanta ’96 gold medallist, Taribo West, denies any knowledge of bribery during his time with the Eagles.
“In my time, there was nothing like that; maybe it’s possible now. We had great players like Emmanuel Olisadebe who couldn’t make the squad to France ’98 because we had a lot of talents.
“Now due to lack of players on ground, some people may want to find their ways to the national team by giving bribes,” Taribo said.