Daily Trust (Abuja)

24 December 2012

Nigeria: Onigbinde Backs Keshi Over Osaze's Exclusion

Photo: Vanguard
Osaze Odemwingie

Lagos — Former Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde believes Coach Stephen Keshi knows what he is doing for excluding Eagles' established stars from Nigeria's provisional squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa next month.

The likes of Osaze Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Taye Taiwo were left out from the list of 32 players Keshi released on Friday ahead of the Nations Cup.

The squad included 14 home-based players and 18 professionals.

Speaking on a telephone interview with Trustsports yesterday, Onigbinde, who coached the Nigerian team between 1983 and 1984 said that nobody should criticised Keshi for his action as the Eagles' coach is in the best position to choose who will play in the Nigerian team at the African championship.

"Keshi is a friend and a brother; I believe he knows what is good for him to get the best results at the Nations Cup. I want Nigerians, especially those criticising the list, to know that Keshi is the only person that can decide who will play for Nigeria at the Nations Cup," said the FIFA and CAF Instructor.

Onigbinde, a High Chief in Modakeke, Osun State further said that Eagles' Chief Coach is in charge of the team and would be ready to take the glory and blame of whatever happens in South Africa, hence the need for Nigerians to support him rather than criticising his action.

"Keshi knows how he wants to go about the assignment giving to him by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), so we should leave him alone," said Onigbinde, who coached the Eagles at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Onigbinde, who took Shooting Stars Sports Club, 3SC of Ibadan, Oyo State to the final of the Africa Club Champions Cup in 1984, said that as a Nigerian, who has not relinquished his nationality, he looks forward to seeing the Eagles performing very well at the Nations Cup.

"I still remain loyal to Nigeria and I've not changed my nationality, so I would want my national team to perform very well at the Nations Cup and even win the championship," he said.

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