By John Egbokhan
When the Super Eagles play Ethiopia in a crucial 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier on March 27 inside the Abuja National Stadium, one man who would be monitoring events as they unfold in Nigeria is West Brom Coach, Roy Hodgson, because one of his key strikers, Osaze Odemwingie
Odemwingie, would most likely feature against Ethiopia.
Hodgson has told Eagles Coach, Samson Siasia not to push Osaze so hard when he is on national duty.
Although the East African nation, is not known for its prowess in soccer, the modern day game is such that there are no longer minnows as far as international matches are concerned. Siasia is desirous of winning with a good margin because his team are trailing Guinea on the table. One side will win the ticket to play in the Nations Cup, that will be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The Baggies boss will lose several of his players after Saturday’s crucial Premier League game against Arsenal at The Hawthorns. And some of the games will be friendlies.
Hodgson has coached three nations during his long career – taking charge of Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and, most recently, Finland.
And in a report on Birmingham Mail, Hodgson was quoted to have said that “I’m sceptical about friendly and international matches, especially if you’re using the same senior players.
“When I was with Finland I had a conversation with Sami Hyypia, who’d played lots and lots of the games (for Liverpool) the year before.
“He was thinking about stopping internationals. I didn’t need him to show me what he could do. Some international matches can be used to look at other players. So it is important that national team coaches bear those things in mind because it can be a burden on the star players to keep on having to do it in the league, the Champions League, the Europa League and international matches.”
Odumadi promises to punish Ethiopia
NNAMDI Odumadi, the AC Milan star who received double invitation for both the Super Eagles Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia and the All Africa Games qualifying match against Equatorial Guinea in Benin has promised to justify his invitation by the two national coaches. “It’s a thing of joy to see that I was invited by the two coaches.
As good as it is, it also places a heavy load on me to justify my invitation. I promise to deliver and I pity Ethiopia. They will bear the brunt”, he said . Siasia and Eguavoen included the lad in their teams but Siasia had an upper hand by releasing Nwankwo Obiorah of Parma to the Olympic team while holding tenaciously to the Milan player.
“Playing for the national team brings so much joy to me. But now that two national teams want my service, I feel challenged to double my efforts to prove that I am worth the trouble. How I wish I could play for the two teams”, he said.
The error made in our earlier publication is highly regretted