✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Love of money is killing today’s footballers – Ukaegbu

But how do you feel each time you remember what happened to the team in the championship which most Nigerians now tag as Chile disaster?…

But how do you feel each time you remember what happened to the team in the championship which most Nigerians now tag as Chile disaster?

Naturally, I feel so bad in as much as there is nothing I can do about it. Talking about the experience is like crying over spilled milk. But in all honesty, it still pains me that we did not live up to pre-championship rating. Honestly, I still feel bad.

Were you therefore consoled by the opportunity to play for the then Green Eagles?

Sure, before I left for professional football in Belgium, I played for the Green Eagles. The last match I played for the country was our match against Guinea. We thrashed them three nil in Ibadan in a World Cup qualifying match. But after that I could not play against Cameroun because I had a muscle tear.

Considering the money that is found in football now, will you say you played football at the wrong time?

I did not play at the wrong time. It was an injury that cut short my career. If not for the injury, I would have played longer and had it been I stopped playing like five years back, I would have been able to achieve a lot. May be made so much money.

So what are you doing presently?

I am the Chief Coach of Orji Uzor Kalu, OUK FC. In future, I would like to coach any of the national teams because the ambition of almost all footballers is to play for the nation and then end with coaching one of the national teams. I have the same desire.

You won laurels with Iwuanyanwu Nationale now known as Heartland FC of Owerri. Do you see the team winning this year’s CAF Champions League?

I have no doubt in my mind about the team’s chances of winning the league. Even if Heartland cannot boast of good players, the team has experience coaches in Coach Kelechi Emetole and Ben Iroha. These are good coaches who can tinker the team to resounding victories in the CAF Champions league.

These two clubs are products of the local league. Can you compare the league today with what existed in your days?

There is no basis for comparison. The league in our days was full of good players. Where will you see such good players today? They are nowhere to be seen. There is dearth of good players in the local league. Premier league matches are played in empty stadia. Players are better motivated now but the fact is that they are not dedicated. The players are no more determined and disciplined. In our days, we were determined to play. We wanted to score goals and win. It was not about money. Today’s footballers focus more on money and that is what is killing them. I don’t even see what they play on the field and that is part of the problem.