Former Super Eagles striker and Montpellier youth Coach, John Chukwudi Utaka is disappointed with his exclusion from Nigeria 2014 World Cup team list, led by Late Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.
The 38-year-old made the team list at the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup, where Nigeria was knocked out at the group stage. Chief Adegboye Onigbinde was in charge of the 2002 squad. Utaka also featured in the first FIFA World Cup hosted by an African nation, South Africa 2010. Where Eagles were coached by Lars Lagerbäck.
Having won the French Ligue 1 title with Montpelier in 2013, Utaka joined Sivasspor in Turkey the following year, but was surprisingly omitted from Nigerian 23-man list to Brazil 2014. Keshi’s team paraded 19 debutants, which came short at the biggest stage of world football.
Speaking to ojbsport, Utaka revealed how disappointed he was for not making the squad list of Brazil 2014 World Cup
“I was disappointed but not upset. That was just it, I didn’t question anything, I did well for Nigeria and it was an honour to put on the National jersey. I just moved on and forgot about it.”
As a French Ligue1 winner in the form of his life, Utaka’s omission caused an uproar. Keshi’s rationale behind his exclusion was questioned by top pundits and fans of the Super Eagles.
According to the Technical crew, in their defence, they said they selected the best players available for the Mundial event.
When questioned about his lowest moment as a professional footballer, Utaka responded with a smile
“I did not really have a low point during my playing career
Maybe I can say when I was not selected for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it was somehow a low point for me. I saw it as a challenge because you know a football game comes with a lot of pressure. So whenever I come across a challenge I just brush it off because it can set you back if you dwell on it.
I just turn to the bright side, take the positive part and keep going.” Utaka concluded.