By Olayinka Elebute
Former Super Eagles Coach, Dutchman Clemens Westerhof, has dragged his former assistant and friend Jo Bonfrere to court over a bribery allegation.
Bonfrere had accused Westerhof of receiving a hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) bribe to sell out a match to former world champion Italy at the knockout stage of the 1994 World Cup.
An angry Westerhof has refused to take the allegations lightly and is asking a Dutch court to compel Bonfrere, 74, to retract his statements and issue an apology, as reported by Netherlands publications, NOS.
Bonfrère, however, insisted that he had not accused his former boss of any crime and that his words were misquoted in the Nigerian media.
The court is expected to deliver judgment on the case between the two ex-friends in a fortnight. Nigeria appointed Westerhof as the Super Eagles head coach in the early nineties, and the former Vitesse Arnhem manager inspired the side to her second-ever AFCON triumph at Tunisia ’94.
Later that summer, Nigeria appeared at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in history and impressed during the group stages, finishing top of her group after defeating Bulgaria and Greece.
But a Round of 16 clash against Italy ended the African nation’s adventure at the Mundial with the Europeans coming from behind to win 2-1 after extra-time despite playing much of the second half with ten men.
Westerhof left his post immediately after that tournament, with his assistant Bonfrere taking over and leading Nigeria to her first-ever Olympic Games gold medal in football at Atlanta ’96.
Bonfrere left afterwards, only to return years later to help Nigeria to a runners-up spot at Ghana-Nigeria 2000.