1 January 2013

Nigeria: Keshi Forecloses Martins Recall for Afcon 2013

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has foreclosed the recall of Spain-based striker, Obafemi Martins, from the team preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations starting in barely a fortnight in South Africa.

Media Officer of the team, Ben Alaiya confirmed Monday that the Eagles' supremo has no intention of recalling Martins as a possible replacement for Shola Ameobi who Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew is tenaciously holding on to from joining the glory seeking squad in Faro, Portugal.

"The head coach (Stephen Keshi) has made it clear that he will not call up any new player as he has enough players to choose from for the Nations Cup," disclosed Eagles spokesman.

The Levante striker was one of the top stars left out by Nigeria for a training camp in Portugal ahead of the forthcoming AFCON in South Africa.

England-based defender Danny Shittu has opted out of the squad and there are still doubts over the availability of Ameobi.

"There is no word from Ameobi yet on whether he will be part of our Nations Cup preparations. Keshi said he cannot force the player to play for the country and so he is still waiting to hear from Ameobi on his position and then we will take it from there," said Alaiya.

There are now a total of 20 players in Faro - nine overseas-based pros and 11 from the Nigeria Premier League. Turkey-based striker Uche Kalu was the last arrival.

US-based striker Bright Dike has been terrific in training as battle for places at the AFCON have stepped up a gear, according to officials.

The Eagles will fly out to Spain today for a friendly against Catalonia the following day with either Chigozie Agbim or Daniel Akpeyi started in goal as none of the team's foreign-based goalkeepers are in Portugal.

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