Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Odemwingie Blames Outburst Against Keshi On Anger

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/Backpagepix
Peter Odemwingie.

West Bromwich Albion striker, Osaze Odemnwingie has attributed his recent outburst against the Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi on anger arising from a feeling of betrayal by the coach.

Odemnwingie had at the wake of the release of the team list for AFCON 2013 taken to his twitter account and made some disparaging comments against the Super Eagles gaffer.

The out of favour Super Eagles striker was also reported to have called the chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, Chris Green 'names' over his exclusion from the AFCON squad.

The England based forward, realizing his mistakes, said he made the comments in anger after he had made told his coach and colleagues that he was set to travel for the January 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa with Nigeria.

He described Green as a good man, and one of the few on the board alongside the President, Aminu Maigari, whom he knows personally and would not want to offend, though his anger has portrayed him to be at 'war with everybody'."I remember it was Green that settled my case with Siasia then. But I was too angry when he called me over this matter and was impatient to listen to him and my comment was not directed to him personally but to those who made the decision. But I think I over reacted then."

On his face-off with Keshi, the former Locomotive Moscow forward revealed that "I called the coach two or three times within that period maybe two or three days before the list was made public and told him of my commitment to be part of the Nations Cup and have told my coach I will be going to the Nations Cup. I told the coach I was ready to report to camp by January 3rd ;even before other professionals start reporting to camp, if I was in his programme for the Nations Cup and even told him to feel free to drop me if I was not in his programme. I felt betrayed after that seeming heart-to-heart discussions with the coach few days to the release of the team list and he could not hint me,I was not in his plan for the Nations Cup.For me it was not professional and I considered it a betrayal,and lost my cool given all the arrangements I had made towards the Nations Cup"

Odemnwingie also revealed that he felt pained and miffed by some comments on why he was dropped ranging from being arrogant to asking for the captain's band. "I concluded the federation wanted to freeze me out of the national team after ten years of serving the country with commitment and dedication. I don't mind being asked to give the younger ones a chance, even though I still have five years to offer at the international level but I only think it would be proper to be honourably pulled out of the national team and not 'disgraced' out of the team after years of dedicated service to Nigeria."

He argued that though his international career is over in the light of these controversies, which he noted, "were unfortunate and regrettable, but I still believe there is need to correct some wrong impressions out there that I am always fighting with every coach, but what people don't know is that my issues with all the coaches from Samson Siasia to Lars Lagerback and now Keshi had to do with purely football matters, not administrative or asking for more money for players"

"My case with coach Siasia dates back to the 2008 Olympics, and had to do with insufficient jersies and all that, with Lagerback, it had to do with how I was treated and I voiced it to him personally at the World Cup and now being treated unfairly. Imagine talking with someone two, three times over an issue and few days later you begin to hear a different story from the person who was in a position to tell you point blank that you are not in my plan for this".

Odemnwingie said he regrets the whole controversy, and want to focus on his club career.

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