By Dipo Olowookere
Former Super Eagles Coach Clemens Westerhof, has disclosed how he helped former Nigerian international, Etim Esin, from going to jail in Belgium some years ago when he landed into trouble.
Mr Westerhof, speaking with www.sportsxclusivetv.com, said he was called by Late Augustus Aikhomu, the then Vice President and Chief of General Staff under then Military President Ibrahim Babangida, to help Mr Esin.
“Augustus Aikhomu, what a man, a man after my heart; that is a man, he knows about football, he knows what to talk about, he doesn’t talk nonsense bla bla bla. There are so many people in Nigeria who talk bla bla bla and if you look behind the curtains, there’s nothing.
“So, this man was also very straight forward. Once he phoned me, he said Coach, can I come and see him immediately at the Villa, the Presidential Villa at Abuja. I went there, he said ‘listen Coach, can you help me?’ I said ‘tell me what I must do’. Etim Esin, Etim Esin problems, Etim Esin was always problems, always.
“Etim Esin was one of the best players of Nigeria I have ever seen, absolutely incredible player, but he was always in problems, all kinds of problems. So I said ‘what must I do?’ So he told me and I advised him.
“Etim Esin did something in Belgium, I don’t want to talk about it anymore, but we put a lawyer to it, the lawyer cleared everything and Etim Esin was cleared. It all cost $10,000, he said no problem and gave the money, that man I could work with,” Mr Westerhof narrated.
Mr Westerhof, who took Nigeria to her first FIFA World Cup in 1994, further revealed why he never experienced all the distractions most Nigerian coaches went through during his five-year tenure.
The man who called himself a “Dutchgerian” because of his love and attachment to Nigeria said, “If i wanted something, I phoned him (Mr Aikhomu), if I wanted money, I phoned him. I get all the money straight to me not through all the people who hang around him.”