Tijani Babangida, the former Super Eagles winger, had revealed that the Eagles missed the 1996 AFCON in South Africa because the late Abacha said he could not guarantee their safety.
Nigeria had won the Nation Cup at Tunisia 1994 and as defending Champion, stand a chance
There were tensions between Nigeria and South Africa after the Sani Abacha-led government was criticised for the killing of poet and rights activists, Ken Saro Wiwa.
Babangida revealed the team had a meeting with the Late Abacha at the Aso Rock Villa. At the meeting, Abacha told the squad the Federal Government could not guarantee the team’s safety, but they could still travel at their own risk.
Babangida said: “He (Abacha) summoned us to Aso Rock and explained to us his problem with the rest of the world and also with South Africa,” Babangida said.
“He said he could not guarantee our safety and believed they could reach us just to get to him.
“He, however, told us that we could go at our own risk but we decided to honour the father of the nation,” the former Ajax star added.
The Super Eagles were subsequently banned from 1998 edition in Morocco but made a return at the 2000 edition which they co-hosted with Ghana.”