Olaitan's collapse on pitch : Ex-Nigeria U20 star admits he was tired after facing Manchester United
Published: June 21, 2021
Olaitan's collapse on pitch : Ex-Nigeria U20 star admits he was tired after facing Manchester United
Seven years after he collapsed on the pitch during the Athens derby between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, former Nigeria U20 international Michael Olaitan has revisited the incident.

The attacking midfielder has admitted that he was surprised to be picked by manager Michel in the starting lineup to face Panathinaikos because he was fatigued after the Champions League meeting against Manchester United on February 25, 2014 and had skipped training for four days.

Olaitain's collapse on the pitch completely changed his career as the Olympiakos coaches were wary of fielding him after the incident despite receiving medical green light from the doctors.

The 28-year-old embarked on loan spells at Ergotelis , Twente and Kortrijk before he was released by Olympiakos in 2016, and he is now plying his trade for Greek third-tier club Panserraikos.

Speaking to Gazzetta.gr, Olaitan explained : "I had played in the 90 minutes in the 2-0 victory against Manchester United in Karaiskakis and Michel had to give me extra days because I was tired and he gave them to me.

"I did not train until Saturday, I committed a foul that day.  It did not even occur to me that I would play in the derby with Panathinaikos.

"I think he put me, like the other guys who played against United, to reward us for the performance we made in the Champions League game."

When asked if the fatigue he experienced from the match against Manchester United affected his collapse, Olaitan answered : "You know, I was really tired after the match. I remember that I did not have the strength to even walk. I just went to my room to rest.

"On the other hand, I can not believe that fatigue caused such a thing. In Veria, where I had played more, I did not even have a day off, so, I honestly do not know".

Olaitain was first taken to Greece in 2011 by Jay-Jay Okocha's elder brother, Emmanuel Okocha, after he was spotted in a scouting tournament, where he was named second best player.

Igho Kingsley

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