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Amokachi: How Everton star subbed himself on and saved his career in FA Cup semi-final

14:29 GMT+3 16/04/2022
Daniel Amokachi of Nigeria and Everton.
The 49-year-old explains how he made the Toffees assistant coach to sub him in place of the injured Paul Rideout and went on to score two goals

Nigeria legend Daniel Amokachi has explained how his astonishing decision to substitute himself for Everton against Tottenham Hotspur in a semi-final clash in the FA Cup in 1995 was a key moment in his career.

The Super Eagle, who had joined the Toffees from Club Brugge in the same season, has remembered how he made Everton assistant coach Willie Donachie bring him on for the injured Paul Rideout without the knowledge of the then head coach Joe Royle.

Amokachi then went on to amazingly score two goals in the game as they beat Spurs 4-1 to reach the final.

“It was meant to be because if I didn't score then it would probably have been my last game for Everton,” the 49-year-old said as quoted by BBC Sport Africa. “Rideout got a knock and went down, and if you play the same position you jump off your feet and start warming up and getting ready.

“He got up but went down again. Everybody knew I was in very good shape and ready to go. I just went to Willie [Everton assistant manager Willie Donachie] and I told him ‘The gaffer says you need me on.’

“When you look back at the clip, you can see how furious Joe Royle was. He ran to the touchline, [saying] 'What are you guys doing?' I looked back at him - we had done it already. If you pull me back, we'll play with one less anyway.

“Ten minutes later - bang. And then another goal - bang - and Everton were in the final. Legendary moments like that keep your name in the limelight.”

The substitution left many baffled and even Royle described it as one of the “the greatest substitutions I never made.”

On what Royle told him at the end of the match, Amokachi said: “It was the gaffer that went to the press conference and told the whole world about it. Then he came into the locker room and hugged me, gave me his hand, and said: “Well done, son, but never try that again.”

Everton went on to lift the title as they beat Manchester United 1-0 in the final. During that game, Amokachi came off the bench when Everton were already ahead.

“Beating the mighty Manchester United in the final, nobody saw it coming,” Amokachi remembers. “And we did it because of that character that Joe Royle brought into the team. It is a day I will never forget.”

Amokachi played many international matches for Nigeria and was part of the team that participated in the 1994 and 1998 Fifa World Cups. They had famously won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations.

He also helped the Super Eagles to win the Olympic gold medal in 1996, scoring in the final against Argentina.