By John Egbokan
Returnee Super Eagles forward, John Utaka has vowed to repay coach Lars Lagerbackâ€™s faith in inviting him to the World Cup preparatory camp by putting up a chart-bursting performance that would land him a role in the final 23-man list to South Africa 2010.
After being frozen out by former handler, Shuaibu Amodu, who did not take the Portsmouth winger to the 27th Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, reprieve knocked on Utakaâ€™s door at the weekend, following his invitation for Nigeriaâ€™s pre-World Cup meeting and training session camp slated to hold in the United Kingdom on April 27 and 28, where the battle for the final team for the Mundial is expected to start taking shape as players scramble for all place in South Africa.
Having not tasted national action for some time now, Utaka,Â said he is revving up for the chance of a lifetime to play at the first World Cup showpiece holding on the African continent for the very first time, since the competition started
â€œI am excited to be invited by coach Lagerback for the pre-World Cup camp in England and by extension, I am always ready to give my best for my country. I g time since I played with the boys and it would be good coming back and having a feel of national duty.
â€œMy inclusion did not surprise me because I have been waiting for this chance for some time now. I love playing for my country and would always be ready to do well for the nation. I have been waiting for the chance for prove my self and I know that I would not disappoint the coach, who has invited meâ€m added an thrilled Utaka.
The former Rennes winger, also tipped Lagerbackâ€™s Eagles to soar high at the World Cup. Nigeria are pooled alongside Argentina, Greece and South Africa in Group B, with the Eagles battling Diego Maradonaâ€™s Argentine side on June 12.
â€œI do not share the pessimism that others are feeling that we would struggle at the tournament because of the shortness of time for the team to get together. I believe that we have the players to soar highâ€, said Utaka, who is expected to feature alongside Nwankwo Kanu for Portsmouth in the final of the FA Cup against Chelsea next month.