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I was denied playing for Nigeria thrice because I wouldn’t pay bribe – John Fashanu

John Fashanu, the former British footballer, has claimed that demands for bribes by Super Eagles’ coaches cost him the chance of playing for Nigeria.

The former Wimbledon FC striker spoke in a recent chat with the Special Delivery podcast hosted by Emmanuel Babayaro, ex-Eagles goalkeeper, and Matthew Edafe.

Fashanu was born in London to a Nigerian father and a Guyanese mother. He played just twice for England.

The former footballer’s decision to pick England over Nigeria has been one that drew the ire of most Nigerians throughout the prime of his 17-year-long career which saw him score over 150 goals and win the 1988 FA Cup.

Some Nigerians even labelled him “a traitor” due to the decision.

On why he chose the Three Lions over the Super Eagles, Fashanu alleged he was denied a chance of representing Nigeria thrice because he would not pay a bribe.


He narrated how the late Moshood Abiola flew him into the country to play for the national team but he was rejected by the coaches despite playing top-flight football in the English Premier League (EPL).

“I remember a long time ago in England and I was London with my son and this Nigerian came up to me and said: ‘You are a bloody traitor to your own country.’ Then I went to a bar with him I talked it through with him. And I told him that I have come to Nigeria three times to play for my motherland. I was not invited to come to Nigeria but the late MKO put me in his private jet and said to the coaches that ‘this guy can play football and I’m going to give him to Nigeria,’” he said.

“Through him, I came into the Eagles camp and I started playing there. I came the first time, but I wasn’t selected. Second and third time and I was not selected. Bearing in mind I was still playing top football in the English Premier League (EPL) at the time. So the then coach, I cannot remember who it was, came up to me and said, ‘Fashanu, why don’t you bring some money and we will see what we can do.’ And I was like no.”




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