Tuesday, 11 September 2012

NFF clears air on Mikel

The Nigeria Football
Federation Tuesday
clearly stated that they
were in no way
mounting pressure on
Eagles coach Stephen
Keshi to invite Chelsea
player Mikel Obi for the
remaining
international duties.
There had been reports
in the media that the
federation was
frowning at the
exclusion of Mikel from
the national team. But
they maintained that
Mikel was part of his
team and would be
invited when there
was need for his
services. Keshi listed
him for the match in
Liberia but Mikel opted
out on the grounds
that he was not
disposed to playing on
artificial turf earlier
chosen to host the
match.
Many
had
criticised Mikel for
lacking patriotism and
said that choosing the
matches he could play
for Nigeria underscored
this. But there are also
many followers of the
game whoinsist that
the decision to leave
Mikel was not good for
the team.
And recently, NFF
Executive members
were said to have
joined this school.
Chairman of Technical
Committee of NFF Chris
Green reacted this way
yesterday: “Nobody in
the federation has
raised this matter with
Stephen Keshi what
more insisting that he
must invite Mikel. We
have not done so. And
we will not do so. This
is official. Keshi is in
charge and he decides
on the players to be
invited. He is free to
invite anybody he
deems good enough.
Our job could be
advisory on such issues
but nobody has
insisted on Mikel being
invited. “
When Keshi was
appointed Eagles coach
he had Mikel in mind as
one who would take
over from Joseph Yobo
as Eagles captain.
But in his very first
outing, a friendly
against Malawi Mikel
opted out of the match
after Keshi had told
him he would be
allowed a free role to
express himself and
possibly make
attempts at goal. And
since then the Chelsea
player had not shown
enough commitment
to the national team,
the last issue on astro
turf being a pointer.
”It will be counter
productive for anybody
to mount pressure on
Keshi to use any player.
It will mark the
beginning of failure.
Mark my words,”
Nwabufo Obienu, a one
time NFA vice chairman
said yesterday.
He warned Keshi over
some players he said
might not fit into his
plans now and told
him to learn from the
problems his
predecessor, Samson
Siasia faced which led
to his disengagement.
”If Keshi is not firm on
players it will cause his
sack. They will sack
him and move on,
laughing at him later.
Recall the Vincent
Enyeama, Osaze
Odewengie and Mikel
Obi issues with Siasia
and how Siasia
eventually lost out and
you will appreciate this
caution I’m asking
Keshi to embrace,”
Obienu offered.

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