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Osaze blasts Keshi

Peter Odemwingie has reacted angrily to being omitted from Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad.

The West Bromwich Albion forward last played for Nigeria in February’s goalless draw with Rwanda in the Cup of Nations qualifying.

“Every manager has got his own plans and tactics – if I don’t figure in your plans, please be honest to tell me directly,” Odemwingie told BBC Sport.

The 31-year-old played at the 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 Nations Cups.

Osaze Odemwingie in a with the press
File Photo: Osaze Odemwingie with the press

“For 10 years I gave my all to the country as a player on the pitch, played for the nation and fans, not individuals,” he pointed out.

Odemwingie believes he is being overlooked because he often speaks his mind about the national team.

“Because I speak out when things are not right, I guess some people are not just comfortable with that openness,” he said.

“No one seeks preferential treatment, footballers are like the average people and not perfect individuals.

“There’s a long history of problems between the players, coaches and the federation and if they are not sorted – the country will continue to struggle.

“Football means so much to Nigerians and the fans deserve success and not be fed with lies in the media.”

However Odemwingie says he will not completely shut the door on his international career.

“It’s sudden and to be honest I don’t know, because the individuals change but the problems remain,” Odemwingie said.

“If the chance to play for my country presents itself, then I will speak to my dad and those close to me – then we’ll see.

“Personally, I’ve got to be playing regularly for my club, focus my energy on being a better person every day.

“At the moment, all I can do is to wish the team all the best in South Africa.”

The Super Eagles begin their Nations Cup campaign against Burkina Faso on 21 January and then face Zambia and Ethiopia in Group C.

Osaze wants to be Eagles captain — Keshi

Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has dropped a bombshell by revealing Osaze Odemwingie has proposed himself as team skipper.

Keshi told a stunned Nigeria Football Federation technical committee that the West Bromwich Albion striker has put himself forward to be the Eagles skipper.

“He told them that he wants to be captain as he considers himself one of the most senior players in the current squad,” an official revealed.

“But how he has behaved in the national team over the years has really run counter to his ambition to be the leader of this team. You can only lead by example.”

The 31-year-old Osaze made his Eagles debut in 2002, but it was not until the 2004 Nations Cup that he established himself in the national team.

Goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide as well as defender and present skipper Joseph Yobo are more senior players than Osaze in the Eagles.

However, he has rowed with national team bosses, from Austin Eguavoen to Lars Lagerback, and his clash with Samson Siasia was widely regarded as one of the problems that caused Nigeria to sensationally fail to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup.

It is such poor attitude that has now denied him a fifth Nations Cup appearance.

In the meantime, the Eagles coach has said he wishes to run the rule over shock invitee Rabiu Ibrahim who has failed to establish himself at Celtic.

Ibrahim has only managed a handful of games in his second season at Celtic Park and has yet to be capped by Nigeria at full international.

“Keshi said he has watched Rabiu in a couple of cup games and will want to have a closer look at the midfielder in Faro, Portugal,” a top official told

The gifted Ibrahim has held out a lot of promise since he featured for the U17s in 2007, but he has yet to establish himself in Europe ever since.

This will be his second Eagles call-up as he was also considered for the 2010 Nations Cup, but opted out as he had just undergone a groin operation.


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