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Wearing Super Eagles number 10 jersey was dream come true – Avaa

A former international, Dondo Avaa has said the rare privilege of wearing the highly coveted Super Eagles number 10 jersey which the likes of Etim…

A former international, Dondo Avaa has said the rare privilege of wearing the highly coveted Super Eagles number 10 jersey which the likes of Etim Esin and Austin Jay-Jay Okocha also donned was dream come true for him.

The former BCC Lions and Jasper United star said even as he was a home-based player, he was handed the number 10 jersey anytime Okocha was not in the squad.

Avaa who had five caps for Nigeria made his debut for the Super Eagles when he came on as a second half substitute to partner the legendary Rashidi Yekini in the international friendly with Jamaica in 1998.

Samson Siasia, Uche Okafor, Ben Iroha and Austin Eguaveon, members of the USA 1994 World Cup squad were also in the team that held Jamaica to 2-2 draw in Kingston.

“I felt highly elated anytime I was handed the number 10 jersey. It was given to me anytime Jay-Jay Okocha wasn’t available.

“For me, it was dream come true because when I was small, I dreamt that one day, I would wear the green white green jersey and number 10 to be precise.

“Although wearing the number came with pressure, I was able to prove that allowing me to wear the jersey wasn’t a mistake.”

Despite having a short spell in the national team due to knee injury, the former Sharks of Port-Harcourt player said it was great honour playing alongside some of the legends.

“I played with the likes of Late Rashidi Yekini,Samson Siasia, Mutiu Adepoju, Tijani Babangida, Ben Iroha, Sunday Oliseh, Austin Eguaveon and Uche Okafor and a host of others.

“All of them recognised and appreciated my talent. They actually wondered why I was still playing in the Nigerian league,” he said.

Avaa, however, said his greatest disappointment came when he was dropped from the France 1998 squad simply because he was a local player.

He said his failure to make the team to France 98 was a major blow to his career.

“We all know how difficult it is for home-based players to feature in the national team.

“However, I didn’t only make it to the Super Eagles, I gave the big boys from Europe a run for their money.

“Everybody knows that I was dropped from the France 98 World Cup squad simply because I was a home-based player.

“It was a huge disappointment and a major setback for me,” said Avaa who later played in Poland and South Africa.

 

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