31 December 2012

Nigeria: Afcon 2013 List - Odemwingie Remorseful, Says Keshi Not Fair to Him

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

Odemwingie had in the wake of the release of the preliminary team list for the Africa Cup of Nations (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 Nigeria Football federation (NFF) Technical Committee, Chris Green, 'names' over his exclusion from the AFCON squad.

The England-based forward has, however, realised his mistakes, which were made in a fit of anger after he had made it known to his coach, and colleagues, that he was set to travel for the January 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa.

In a no-holds-bar interview Sunday, the WBA star surprisingly and truthfully admitted making some of the comments credited to him, but was also quick to make some clarifications on calling Green 'names,' saying what he meant was the decision to exclude him.

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," observed Odemwingie.

On his face-off with Keshi, the former Lokomotive Moscow forward revealed that "I called the coach two or three times within that period, before the list was made public and told him of my commitment to be part of the Nations Cup, and have told my coach (at West Brom) I will be going to the Nations Cup.

"I told the coach (Keshi) 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 seemingly 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," revealed the former Bendel Insurance player.

Odemwingie also revealed that he felt pained and miffed by 'some comments on why I was dropped ranging from being arrogant to asking for the captain's band, and 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," stressed the Eagles forward.

The WBA star 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 jerseys 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, 'you are not in my plan for this.'

'I am human and open to error by the way I may have taken the issue, and regret the whole controversy, and I want to put all these behind me now and focus on my club career, while wishing the team the best of luck as a Nigerian," Odemwingie concluded.

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