Former coach of Nigeria’s Olympic Dream Team, Johannes Bonfrere has revealed how he saved compatriot Clemens Westerhof from being sacked as Super Eagles Technical Adviser after the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria.
Bonfrere made this known in an interview on Monday on Brila FM from his country Holland.
According to Bonfrere, he was approached by the board of the then NFA after the tournament where the Eagles finished second, but he turned the offer down.
The 73-year-old said he had been approached on numerous occasions to replace his country man but kept turning it down.
“I refused to take his job in 1990 in Algeria when the board asked me in a meeting that they would like to sack him and bring me as the head coach.
“But I refused that moment and I have refused many times.”
When asked which of the squads between the 1994 Super Eagles side and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medal winner side he would prefer, Bonfrere said: “I prefer the 1996 squad because they learnt from me how to play football. How to play attack, how to score goals and how to win games. Unlike in 1994 where someone was cheating the team.”
Both Bonfrere and Westerhof who have since fell out, were on opposite benches when Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles hosted Zimbabwe in the last group game in the qualifiers for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games.
Playing inside the mainbowl of the National stadium, Surulere, the U-23 Eagles thrashed the Zimbabweans 4-0 to pick the group’s ticket.
Before the Eagles opened scoring, Westerhof was sent away from the Zimbabwean bench in the first half for misconduct.
Before they fell out Bonfrere was assistant to Westerhof at the Algiers 1990, Senegal 1992 and Tunisia 1994 AFCONs.
Bonfrere was also his assistant at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States where the Eagles got eliminated 2-1 by Italy after extra-time.
He was in charge of the Super Falcons at the maiden edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in 1991.
At the Sydney Olympic games, Bonfrere could not replicate the 1996 feat as the Eagles crashed out in the quarter-final after losing 4-1 to Chile.
Prior to the Sydney games, he led the Super Eagles to a second place finish at the 2000 AFCON co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago