Former manager of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, has described Nigeria as the “great underachievers of world football”.
The retired French tactician who is currently the head of FIFA’s global football development believes that with the number of talents at the disposal in Nigeria, the country ought to have achieved more in international football.
Arsene Wenger argued further that Nigeria has all it takes to be a great footballing nation, but the country hasn’t completely realized that potential.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have appeared in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations seven times but managed to win it three times despite being regarded as the giants of Africa.
The Nigerian men’s football team has won gold, silver, and bronze medals at the Olympics held in Atlanta in 1996, Beijing in 2008, and Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
In the 90s, the Super Eagles of Nigeria were so dominant that they were ranked 5th best team in the world by FIFA but they are now ranked outside the top 20.
As for the Super Falcons, they are the most successful women’s team in Africa and have played in all editions of the World Cup. However, they have managed to reach the quarter-final stage once in the history of the competition.
“Nigeria has incredible talent but they are the great underachievers of world football,” Arsene Wenger said according to Punch.
The Frenchman is one of the most successful coaches in English football, having won a record seven FA Cups, three league titles, and two Manager of the Year awards.
To get Kanu in 1999, Wenger shattered the previous English transfer record for an African player by paying Inter Milan £4.5 million.
Additionally, the 73-year-old gave Alex Iwobi his major break at Arsenal by allowing him to make his debut in a Carabao Cup fourth-round game against Sheffield Wednesday when he was still a teenager.