Retired Super Eagles winger Tijani Babangida revealed the reason he was instructed to play on the left wing against South Africa at the African Cup of Nations in 2000.
The traditional right winger initially struggled with the idea, but the bet paid off, and Babangida scored two goals in the match.
He said, “Well, it was a coach strategy, which I found very difficult to accept. We had some problems, but the coach insisted that he should play from the left and I had no choice but to obey the coach and follow his orders.
I couldn’t do anything else because he was the coach and luckily I came in and did my best. I had a memorable game, I scored two fantastic goals that are still talked about in world football today. That was the first time that I saw a right winger with the right leg operate from the left side, but it is common today in modern football. “
The former Ajax winger said: “At the time, the system was not normal for you to see something like that. But at the end of the day, it was worth it. That is where you can see the ingenuity at Bonfrere Jo, who introduced the system from the year 2000.
In fact, it was the first time he had played from the left and the first time he had seen a right back playing from the left wing. (Babangida was unaware that Bonfrere acted in a technical report from a group that went to Kumasi to monitor the Ghana / South Africa match that Bafana Bafana won. In the match, South Africa, Mark Fish seemed slow and always overlapped, but with slow rate of Recovery.”
The group recommended that a very fast attacker be played to the left. That group included the late Amodu coach, Joseph Erico and Onochie Anibeze, a former athlete and current editor Saturday.)