27 December 2012

Nigeria: Toro Lauds Keshi's 32-Man Provisional List

Photo: Vanguard
The Eagles in training (file photo).

Former Nigeria Football Association (NFA) Secretary General, Alhaji Ahmed Sani Toro, has expressed satisfaction with the 32-man provisional Super Eagles list released by the Super Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi for 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa next month.

On the other hand, the former House of Representatives member has appealed to the Nigerian coach include West Brom star Osaze Odemwingie in subsequent campaigns like the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Toro urged Nigerians to rally round Keshi as he prepares the team for the Nations Cup finals and strongly advised against baseless criticism of the list.

"Everywhere in the world it is the duty of the coach to draw up the list of players he needs to prosecute any campaign. It is neither the duty of the football federation nor enthusiasts no matter how well informed to call up or insist on the inclusion of certain players their form and pedigree notwithstanding.

"In fact, insisting on certain names amounts to imposition. The coach has the responsibility, knows the players, knows what strategies he wants to use to prosecute a match or matches, knows those players that will meet his instructions on the field of play and should therefore be allowed to make his choices of players," he said.

Toro, who acknowledged that Odemwingie is one of Nigeria's best strikers at the moment, however said the coach should not be crucified for leaving out the former Bendel Insurance player from the Nations Cup squad, as he says he was sure Keshi must have has good reasons for leaving him out.

"Keshi has made up his mind; he's in a better position to assess each player than the rest of us. However, I beg for Osaze's forgiveness for subsequent tournaments like the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. I agree he may his discipline problem just like Keshi had in his playing days.

"I will plead with Keshi and the NFF not to hold any hard feelings over Osaze's twitter ranting. He may have acted out of youthful exuberance. As leaders, we should accommodate all shades of opinions even some that seems absurd," Toro said.

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