World Cup is the ‘Mecca of football,’ says Ike Shorunmu

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The Erstwhile goalkeeper of the Super Eagles as compared playing at the World Cup with going to the Holy Pilgrimage of Mecca.

Ike Shorunmu, who was behind the sticks for Nigeria at the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup said players got an unprecedented treatment playing at the World Cup

Describing the feeling of playing at the World Cup in an interview with Punch, Shorunmu said: It’s the Mecca of football. When you appear at the World Cup, it’s like a president visiting another man’s country with the kind of treatment you are given by the hosts.

“It’s very interesting. Believe me, you can’t compare it to any other competition; it’s a special tournament. From the airport, you get a welcome party to your hotel, the security and atmosphere are amazing.”

The 35 capped international, who missed out on making the Eagles’ squad to the 1994 and 1998 World Cup described missing out at the latter as the worst memories of the World Cup.

He added that keeping Super Eagles’ first game at the 2002 World Cup, a game Nigeria lost 1-0 to Argentina was his best World Cup moment.

”I missed the 1998 World Cup and it remains my worst because there was a lot of noise that I would be there,” Shorunmu said.

“There was advertisement and even a shooting session ahead of the competition but it was like I was destined not to appear at that World Cup.”

He added, “My best moment was playing our first game against Argentina at Korea/Japan 2002. The pressure on the team was on me, that “Ike, you are the one we are hoping on.

“But I couldn’t do it alone, it’s a team work. But I achieved something at the World Cup with my performances against the Argentines.”

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