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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Okocha's tale of woe
Jay-Jay Okocha
Okocha says Nigeria needed experienced players
Nigeria's captain Jay-Jay Okocha admits the lack of experienced players has been his team's undoing at the World Cup.

"We tried our best with what we had, but it was obvious that experience was missing.

"I think we played very well (against Sweden), but we couldn't convert our chances and we paid the price," Okocha said.

"It's always difficult to create a new team."

Miscalculation

Okocha said that Adegboye Onigbinde, Nigeria's manager, was aware of the risks he took in preferring youth over experience in the current team.

Assistant coach Fanny Amun (middle) consoles Taribo West after the loss to Sweden
Nigeria is the first African team to be eliminated

"We all knew the consequences before taking this kind of decision, that it might backfire.

"I have to accept it because that's football life," Okocha said.

"If we had achieved something here it would have been something great. But life goes on."

Nwankwo Kanu, who came on as a 66th minute substitute, said that the loss was a disappointment, as he was determined to win.

"This is the game we really wanted to win.

"I tried to play through my injury to see if I could do something.

"We didn't want to come here and hear everyone say we play entertaining football. We came here to get results," he said.

This tournament marks the first time in Nigeria's World Cup history that they have failed to make the second round.


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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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