Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has said he will convince Victor Anichebe to return as he considers replacements for injured Emmanuel Emenike.
Emenike has suffered another long-term injury after he was sidelined for about two months with a hamstring injury he picked up against Mali in the semi-final of the recent Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
The Spartak Moscow of Russia striker will therefore not be available for selection during a busy schedule in June that will see the Eagles play two World Cup qualifiers as well as feature in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Keshi has said that he will now consider Anichebe, Werder Bremen striker Joseph Akpala and Turkey-based Michael Eneramo to replace Emenike.
However, last week Anichebe said it was not the right time for him to return to the Super Eagles, saying he would rather prefer to focus on his Everton career particularly as he has suffered many injuries lately.
Keshi, who returned to the country on Monday morning, told MTNfootball.com that he was disappointed Emenike will miss the Eagles matches in June.
“I am sad with the injury of my top striker. I called him the other day to ask how far and he said coach I am out but I am with the team. It’s really sad but that is football for you,” disclosed the Eagles coach.
“I have listed three players as his replacement with Victor Anichebe top on the list and Joseph Akpala and Micheal Eneramo. But I am just hearing that Anichebe has said he would not be available for selection, which is very sad.
“I have made effort in the past to speak with him through Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Joseph Yobo and (Dickson) Etuhu but he said he was not ready to play. I will still make effort to reach him, you never can tell, I could be able to convince to have a change of mind.”
Keshi also hailed the return to action of AFCON hero Sunday Mba at the weekend for Enugu Rangers in a CAF Champions League clash in Angola.
“It’s a very good thing, that is all I have been preaching since because the boy needs to be regular in action. He also scored for Rangers which is very good. I am happy for him,” the coach said.