Daily Trust (Abuja)

30 March 2014

Nigeria: Odemwingie's Return Doesn't Scare Me - Musa

Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images-Stanbic
Peter Odemwingie of Nigeria and Haminu Dramani of Ghana (file photo).

CSKA Moscow Striker, Ahmed Musa has played down reports saying the imminent return of Osaze Odemwingie to the Super Eagles fold will jeopardize his chances of making it to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Super Eagles striker who has six goals in 27 appearances for his Russian club this term, is being cited as the player that will give way if indeed the truce between Odemwingie and Coach Stephen Keshi is true, which might lead to his call up to the Eagles camp considering his recent form for Stoke City.

"It doesn't scare me at all, why will I be scared? We are all professionals striving for the best for the Super Eagles and our various clubs and at the end of the day the ultimate decision lies with the Coach. But anyone will be proud to represent his fatherland at the World Cup," the former VV Venlo player said.

Stephen Keshi's philosophy of team building which involves working with younger players with immense potentials might work in Musa's favour. He is only 22 years old and part of the all-conquering Eagles of the Nations Cup of 2013. He played a huge part in the qualifying phase of the World Cup. Some experts say some of his weaknesses is he isn't clinical in front of goal and can be indecisive with his final touch in high tempo situations. But they also cited his speed,deft touches and defensive abilities as a huge plus, with the fact that he's disciplined and a popular figure in the Super Eagles dressing room.

Odemwingie last played for the Super Eagles in a Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda in 2012 and hasn't been invited since then due to comments he made about how he was being treated with disrespect by Super Eagles coaches. Keshi didn't take the utterance lightly and ostracized him completely from the team, citing discipline and a harmonious dressing room as keys to success.

But football experts believe Odemwingie's case isn't different from that of Ike Uche who has also been ignored by Keshi due to alleged acts of indiscipline capable of upsetting the team's set-up

It is believed that the call for Odemwingie's return to the team is a subtle campaign by some within the football circle.

Though his experience and composed attacking play will be a plus for the Eagles in Brazil, some still think he is a divisive figure that could disrupt the harmony the manager has instilled in the dressing room, adding that he's coming to reap where he didn't sow because he played no part in the World Cup qualification phase.

Ex-Eagles star Tijjani Babangida believes the final decision of who's to be included in the list should lie with the coach,who has the technical expertise to ascertain who would help the team so it's not a matter of Osaze against anybody in the team.

Babangida reasoned that if the coach feels any player would add quality and cohesion to the team, of course he'll go ahead and invite him no matter what anybody says because it's for the good of the team.

The former Ajax Amsterdam's opinion was shared by his former Eagles team mate Taribo West. The former Inter Milan defender believesit is wrong to start insinuating who should drop out of the team for whom. He called on Nigerians to allow the coach to make his final decision and submit his list to the Technical Committee of the NFF. The most important thing, he said, is to take the right players that will make the country proud in Brazil.

A member of the NFF Technical Committee and former Super Eagles player, Garba Lawal stated that the Committee level they are not aware of such an issue. Garba disclosed the committee will be meeting on April 8 to iron out all issues regarding World Cup plans.

Who do you think deserves to get the nod ahead of the other?

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