12 January 2013

Nigeria: Ameobi & Shittu Escape Punishment

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has said no action will be taken against Shola Ameobi and Danny Shittu for opting out of the African Cup of Nations.

The England-based pair was named in an initial 32-man squad. But Newcastle's Ameobi refused to honour the call-up and Millwall's Shittu requested to be excused. The NFF had initially said it would seek Fifa sanctions on both clubs if they did not release the players. "There are players in the squad who can deliver for Nigeria, so we can only wish Ameobi and Shittu all the best in England"

"There's no point creating unnecessary distraction or pushing for sanctions when we have capable players in the Super Eagles. We have the rules firmly on our side to seek punishment but that will not make any positive contribution to our preparations. There are players in the squad who can deliver for Nigeria, so we can only wish Ameobi and Shittu all the best in England."

Stephen Keshi, the Nigerian coach, was expected to announce his final list for the 23-men squad on Tuesday, before submitting players for the tournament, which kicks off on 19 January.

"The coach has the final say on whose going and who's not, but administratively we must ensure technical areas are covered in the interest of the country. It's not an interference rather a strong effort to ensure the coach gets what he wants and the team travelling is in order."

Nigeria begins their Nations Cup campaign against Burkina Faso on 21 January.

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