By Onochie Anibeze
Amidst calls for the recall of the likes of Osaze Odewengie and Ike Uche to the Eagles, Stephen Keshi, Nigeria’s head coach, has maintained that he has never shut the door against any player in the Eagles.
But he insists that there are times some players are better left out for the good of the team. Such players, he said, could be recalled at the appropriate time. Keshi spoke on phone:
“It is wrong for any coach to shut the door against any player and ban such a player from playing for the National team. But time matters in all things including football.
There are times good players may lose form and you allow them time to be fit again and there are times a player may not contribute to the success of a team due to behavioral problems and if you, as a coach, feel that it will be for the best interest of the team to allow such a player time to conform to the acceptable conducts, you do so to help the team.
I’m aware of the comments people have made on some of our players. All good players deserve to be in the national team but there are also team spirit considerations.
There are tactical considerations. If you have a concept and a player does not and refuses to conform to that concept what do you do? What I want people to know is that I want to go to Brazil and do well. And I will not leave out any person who I feel will help us do well.
No reasonable coach will do that. If I leave out any player, it simply means that I feel that such a player may not help the general interest of the team in Brazil. It is a serious matter and it will not be nice to trivialize World Cup selection matters. It is a serious matter and I wouldn’t want sentiments to sway us.”
Keshi was reported by MTN Soccer to have said that the lack of tactical discipline influenced his decision to leave out Ike Uche from the World Cup team.
He recently admitted that the final selection of 23 players would be tough but that he would go for the best that Nigeria can constitute a good team for Nigeria in Brazil.