The Nigeria Football Federation will not hesitate to invoke the necessary provisions in FIFA statutes on the release of players by clubs should there be any difficulty in getting Nigerian players for early camping, ahead of the 2013 AFCON, beginning January in South Africa.
Subsequently, the NFF has fixed January 4, 2013 as deadline for the release of all their Europe-based professionals needed by Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi for the AFCON.
General secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Musa Amadu said they will invoke the rule that stipulates clubs to release players at least 14 days to a major competition like the Nations Cup.
“The foreign clubs are obliged to release the players two weeks to the competition, so we expect all the players to be in Faro, Portugal, by January 4,” said Amadu.
“Otherwise, we will employ sanctions on the players and the clubs involved.”
The release of their Europe-based pros is crucial forNigeria, whose squads for the 2010 and 2008 editions of the Nations Cup were wholly players from overseas.
Most of the leagues in Europe will break for the Christmas, butNigeriamay be headed on a collision course with clubs in the English premier League for the release of the likes of Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Osaze Odemwingie and Shola Ameobi.
Former Super Eagles skipper Mutiu Adepoju, who played for several top Spanish clubs like Racing Santander and Real Sociedad, has backed the NFF on their insistence on the prompt release of the players.
“The FIFA rule is very clear on this issue. So I support the NFF to drag any club to FIFA. We need these players to be early to camp for proper blending,” Adepoju told MTNFootball.com