IK Uche Accepts Fate Over World Cup Omission

Ikechukwu Uche has wished his Super Eagles teammates a successful campaign at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil, and admitted he bears no grudges against coach Stephen Keshi, despite not making Nigeria 30-man training squad.

The Villareal striker tweated he would get behind Nigeria as the nation prepares for its fifth appearance on the biggest stage in world football.

Uche has scored 12 goals for the ‘Yellow Submarines’ in the Spanish La Liga this season and his exclusion from the World Cup provisional squad means the 30-year-old may now have to wait till Morocco 2015 qualifying campaign to get back into the national team fold.

Ikechukwu Uche Celebrates Scoring for His Spanish Division One Team Villareal.
Ikechukwu Uche Celebrates Scoring for His Spanish Division One Team Villareal.

He has not featured for the three-time African champions since coming on as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in African Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2013 final.

Uche told BBC Sport: “Of course as a professional footballer you’d love to represent your country, but I have never had bad words towards the national coach.

“We spoke two weeks before the squad was announced to clarify certain things that had been written and said in the media.

“Most significantly, it was a very good discussion. It gives me great pleasure that there is no ill will towards anyone.

“I thank the coach for that. I also wish my teammates all the best in Brazil because we are all one family whether you are in the squad or not.”

Many soccer enthusiasts interprets 52-year-old Keshi’s decision to omit the striker’s name from his World Cup squad, as an act of placing his personal ego over the nation’s interest.

But IK Uche insists attention must now turn to the team and not individuals.

“We should all rally round the team and support them in Brazil,” he said. The coach cannot select everyone available to represent Nigeria.

“I thank the fans and those passionately concerned about my omission. I’m grateful for their support and best wishes.

“For me, those picked and those left out are also aware that the country’s success is more important than personal glory.

“I’ll be supporting my country. And I wish the team all the best at the World Cup.”

Uche ranks fourth in the list of Nigeria’s top scorers’ with 18 goals from 45 appearances, behind Rashidi Yekini, Segun Odegbami and Yakubu Aiyegbeni.