I’ve been vindicated – Taribo

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Versatile former Super Eagles defender Taribo West   feels vindicated after Inter Milan doctor Piero Volpi and manager of the club when he turned out for the Italian Serie A  giants between 1997 and 1999 Gigi Simone rubbished the allegation that he falsified his age.

 

Erstwhile Partizan Belgrade President Zarko Zecevic claimed earlier this month that when Taribo joined the Serbian club from German Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern in 2001 he was 40 years old.

But the Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games gold medallist dismissed Zecevic’s claim, saying it had no substance.

He added, “But it is curious that they are raising such matters about 10 years after I left the place. Why was the matter not raised while I was there?

“I have my record in the professional league with Obanta United since the nineties  and all along, I have been keeping to  my true age.”

Volpi said Taribo was in his twenties and not his thirties  when he joined the club from French outfit Auxerre in 1997.

“No, it’s impossible. Taribo may have been born in 1972 and not in 1974 and have removed two years, three at the most, but twelve is impossible,” he was quoted as saying during the week.

Simone, who signed the well-travelled Nigerian for the Milan club, said Taribo couldn’t have been a  35-year-old man  when he arrived at San Siro.

“How can he remove four or five years, let alone 12?” Simoni told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I just cannot believe it. His running, shooting and closing down was that of a man in his 20s.

“With Inter he played 65 games. He was good, reliable.

“In Africa we are used to stories of players changing their age a bit, but only by one or two years.

“Twelve  is a huge amount.”

Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone during the week, Taribo again slammed Zecevic’s claim, saying it aimed at destroying his name.

He commended Simone and Volpi for responding to the age falsification claim, saying he had been vindicated.

The former AC Milan strongman said, ”Zecevic was one of our best directors at Partizan and I had a very good working relationship with him.

“I was the link between the players and management. Lothar Matthaus, who was the manager,  believed in me and we had a good working relationship.

“I don’t know why Zecevic said what he said against me. I’m happy that Gigi Simone and other people have answered him. I’ve forgiven him.”

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