2 June 2014

Nigeria: Odemwingie Haunted By Three AFCON Bronze Medals

Super Eagles returnee, Osaze Odemwingie, is yet to get over missing the opportunity to win his first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) gold medal with Nigeria last year, citing it as one of the biggest regrets of his career.

With three bronze medals from four AFCON the Stoke City forward has played for Nigeria, Odemwingie told UK's The Guardian that he wished he was part of the victorious squad to earn the precious silverware.

"I wish I was part of that squad because I've played in four Africa Nations and got three bronze medals, never a gold. But I can't look back. This is another opportunity for me," stressed the player who is excited by his recall from national team exile.

"In the past few years my only regret is that, as I've become a better player, I probably would have got more goals for myself and the country but I missed out a bit. I've missed a year and a half, missed out on the cup they won, unfortunately," he noted.

On the rift that led to his exclusion from the team, Odemwingie took full responsibility for the breakdown in his relationship with Head Coach, Stephen Keshi.

The 32-year-old stated that he adapted poorly to the change in management, and accepts he may have misinterpreted some of Keshi's coaching decisions as being personal.

"Coach Keshi took over and in the first game (against Rwanda) I was subbed quite early, which I've never been used to because I always played 90 minutes, both for club and national team," recalled Odemwingie.

"So I felt: 'OK, he's probably not sure about me.' I thought I should leave the national team for now. It could be that I misjudged the situation, and after watching how he does it ... he made a lot of early substitutions during the qualifiers and the African Cup, so then I was like: 'OK, I shouldn't have taken it in the way I did.'

He revealed that realising his error made him make the effort to make peace with the coach, who has since recalled him to the national team.

"I'm humble enough to admit that, because when the same things happen to other players, then clearly it's not personal to you. So for me it was then a case of coming to him and saying: 'Let's hug it out and move on.

"The Nigeria team psychologist also played a big part. He came to see me in January, spoke to the coach and explained: 'Peter's an honest guy and, most importantly, he's a good player who can help your team.' The coach agreed with that and gave me a chance again," conclude the former Bendel Insurance player.

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