By Nnamdi Ojiego
Facts may have emerged on why Nigeria’s West Brom striker, Osaze Odemwingie was excluded from the Super Eagles squad for the 2013 African Nations Cup holding in South Africa, by coach Stephen Keshi.
According to Paul Bassey, a columnist with Vanguard Newspaper, who was present at the NFA Technical Committee meeting where Keshi and his assistants defended the Nation’s Cup list, the Eagles’ coaches were skeptical about a player who withdrew from National duty just because he was substituted during a match at the last world cup.
According to Bassey, Keshi was querried by the technical committee on the omission of Martins, Taiwo and Osaze from the list. “Members of the Technical Committee were unanimous that Nigeria needed to go to South Africa with the best legs there are, and presently Osaze was one of the best.
“But by the time Keshi and his assistants finished explaining the reasons for his (Osaze)omission, there was nothing to fault him. Post events have certainly proven the coach right. Much as I do not want to drag us back, the coaches were skeptical about a player who withdrew from National duty just because he was substituted during a match at the last world cup”, Bassey noted.
“…Sirs, as I am talking to you I have an idea of my starting eleven and Osaze may not be there as he has not been part of our plans so far. What happens if I go to South Africa and I do not give Osaze a starting shirt, don’t you think it will cause more problems for the team?….” Keshi was quoted to have told members of the committee.
Keshi was also said to have reminded the meeting that when he invited Osaze in November to take part in the Venezuela friendly, he said he could not because his wife was expecting a baby. “As you are reading this, Osaze’s wife is yet to put to bed!”
“Then, there was the issue of lack of respect for constituted authority. A player who decides not to respect his captain is definitely not a team player and a destablising factor”, Bassey said in his Column, Sports Bassey.