Keshi Undecided On Odemwingie

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has said he is yet to decide on whether to recall Osaze Odemwingie, who has been on fine form with Stoke City in the English Premier League.

Odemwingie has scored three goals in the League with Stoke since he moved in the winter from Cardiff City. But the striker has not played for Nigeria since 2012 after a public spat with Keshi, which eventually led to the player being axed from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

Keshi has insisted his team is not about a particular player, and would rather want to maintain team harmony. “I am happy that Osaze is scoring for his club and he is now back to regular action, but that is not enough for me to call him up to the Eagles world cup squad,” Keshi disclosed.

Odemwingie Has Scored Thrice Since Joining Stoke City.
Odemwingie Has Scored Thrice Since Joining Stoke City.

“What most Nigerians don’t understand is that, this team is not about a player, but about the team. No player is a boss in the team, but all players are equal. I don’t want to invite a player that would unsettle the team chemistry and unity.”

He added: “How come some Nigerians keep talking about two players only? Ikechukwu Uche and Osaze Odemwingie. Are they the only players doing well that have not been invited? How about Lukman Haruna, Michael Babatunde, why are people not talking about them?

“One thing we must know is that it’s only the best we will pick to the World Cup. But what we will not do is pick players who want to lord themselves on other players in the team.”

Nigeria has up till May 13 to name a 30-man provisional squad for Brazil 2014. Meanwhile, Keshi is not worried about the prospect of masterminding an upset over Argentina at the World Cup finals in Brazil. Eagles will face the Albiceleste on June 25 at the Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre in a Group F game.

Argentina will expectedly be relying on the brilliance of FC Barcelona’s superstar, Lionel Messi to strike a dagger into Nigerian hearts but Keshi is relishing the prospect of stopping the little magician in his tracks. “Messi is probably the best footballer in the world but we cannot lose sleep about him because there will be 10 others on the pitch that day,” Keshi told

Nigeria will be meeting Argentina for the fourth time in the World Cup group stages following earlier encounters in 1994, 2002 and 2010.

The Super Eagles lost all three previous encounters against the South Americans and Keshi is keen to end the trend. “I didn’t feel bad about the fact that we will play against Argentina in the group stages because even if we didn’t draw them, we would have met teams like, Spain, Germany, Brazil or England.

“We have been drawn against Argentina. There’s nothing we can do about that. We just have to get ourselves ready,” he said. Nigeria will open her World Cup campaign against Iran at the Arena da Baixada, Curitiba on June 16. Five days later, the African champions will take on Bosnia-Herzegovina in their second game at the Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá before rounding off their preliminary champagne against the two-time World champions, Argentina.

Source: This Day


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