Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Super eagles of Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi, has explained why he opted to exclude some of the nation's established stars from the 2013 Africa cup of nation squad.

The former Mali coach, who against all odds led an un-fancied Nigeria team to win the AFCON 2013 in South Africa, was on the football magazine show, Monday Night Football on SuperSport and gave detailed explanation on his decision to leave out the like of Peter Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins, Kalu Uche, Taye Taiwo and Yakubu Aiyegbeni among others.

He hinged his stance on attitudinal problems with the superstars and was specific in explaining the Africa Cup of Nations blackout for Obafemi and Odemwingie.

“If you have one or two who do not get along, whether they are superstars or not, the team will fall apart. We can manage some of these players with a little bit of character problems, but when it comes to a long period of time, that’s difficult.

“Odemwingie is a very good player, a player I will love to have in the team, but he wants to do what he wants to do.

“We talked on the phone, and I told him what I wanted from him, but he had his own notion and I said 'for now I will skip you.'

“We decided not to take some of these superstars to the Nations Cup because it is (a competition with) a long period of time and for the long period of time, you need characters who go together.

“Martins was not ready for the Cup of Nations. But he is still part of the group. If his name is in the next call-up, if he wants to come, we will see how it goes,” Keshi said.

Keshi maintained that in his 14 years as captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, he was "not bigger than Nigeria" in spite of being the skipper.

“In the national team, where I was captain for 14 years, you are nothing but a figure in the team, you are not bigger than Nigeria. If you are not ready to give the green and white shirt the due respect, you are walking out of my team," warned Keshi.

Keshi, however, was full of praises for Newcastle United striker, Shola Ameobi and who did not turn up for the Afcon despite being named in the pre-tournament provisional squad.

“Honestly, I missed Shola Ameobi. In our game against Venezuela, he showed a lot of presence in the locker room, and he came in with this coaching ability and togetherness. 

Whenever he talked to the boys they always listened. And you could imagine that this was the first time he was coming

That was what I was looking for on the pitch. A leader in somebody who could talk for me on the pitch, because I know what I did as a captain on the pitch. He was really ready to come, but what was on his contract denied him from coming'' concluded Keshi


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