Taribo West, a legendary Nigerian defender, has said that hotel romps were responsible for Nigeria’s 1998 World Cup defeat to Denmark.
The Super Eagles defied the odds by finishing first in their group with six points from three games, ahead of Spain, Bulgaria, and Paraguay. In the round of 16, the three-time African champions were pitted against group C runner-up Denmark.
Despite being favorites going into the match against the Danes, the Super Eagles disappointingly put forth a lackluster performance, losing 4-1.
West, who started and played the entire game, stated that Nigeria’s confidence and popularity had turned into a curse as his teammates became complacent.
The former Inter and AC Milan defender says that some of his teammates brought women into their hotel rooms the night before their Round of 16 game against Denmark in France.
He told Nigerian publication The Punch, quoted by Daily Mail: “I read reports about Eagles visiting nightclubs and driving limousines during the World Cup in France, honestly I don’t know about that.
“But what I know is that some players sneaked women into camp, I saw that.
“The women were Africans who came to watch the tournament and fell in love with our team, because of the way we played in the group stage.
“So, it was easy for these players to woo them to their rooms. That is why on match day, you could see a lot of the players didn’t have the strength to curtail the Danish players.
“They were tired after overworking themselves the night before with the women.
“I was yelling at them on the pitch, I was very angry with them. They did all these because they thought we were going to beat Denmark.”
Nigeria’s ’98 team featured international players including Jay-Jay Okocha of Bolton Wanderers and Nwankwo Kanu of Arsenal. Despite being heavy favorites against Denmark, the Super Eagles were eliminated in the last-16 and have never progressed further in consecutive World Cups.