December 16, 2009

Amodu invites injured players for Nations Cup

Austin Okocha during the Supper Eagles vesus African Legends organised by MTN at the Teslim Balogun stadium Lagos.

Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, yesterday released the list of 32 players who will fight for places in the final 23 that would carry the country’s cross at the 27th Orange African Cup of Nations in Angola next month.

There were no major surprises except for the fact that the list was dominated by injured players or those recuperating from injury. However, there is the likelihood that they may be well and fit before the tournament proper.

Wolfsburg of Germany striker, Obafemi Martins, whose Manager ruled him out of the Nations Cup was named by Coach Shaibu Amodu Shaibu.  So also is vice skipper of the Eagles and Everton of England defender Joseph Yobo who suffered a hamstring injury, Danny Shittu, Dickson Etuhu and Seyi Olofinjana.

Though these players may recover well enough for the Nations Cup, the fact remains that they have not been considered fit enough to be used by their clubs in recent matches.

There are five goalkeepers, 11 defenders, nine midfielders and seven attackers in the list that was made public last night by Image maker of NFF, Ademola Olajire.

Olajire in the release said that the invited players were to report for camping at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge near Durban, South Africa, on December 29, while the foreign-based players would arrive Nigeria for an appreciation dinner on December 27 to be organised by the Nigeria Football Federation.

The dinner would take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel on the evening of December 28. The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge is also being considered by the NFF as the Super Eagles’ Team Base Camp for the 19th FIFA World Cup finals being hosted by South Africa next summer.

Nigeria’s final list of 23 players will depart Durban for Angola on January 8, four days before Nigeria’s first match of the tournament, against Cup holders Egypt, at the 35,000–capacity Ombaka Stadium in Benguela.