By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Villareal of Spain hit-man, Ikechukwu Uche and Israeli based goalie, Austin Ejide were the last set of players to arrive Super Eagles camp in Faro, Portugal Sunday morning.
Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Ben Alaiya told THISDAY on telephone from Faro that some of the players who arrived at the weekend joined the rest players in camp to train in the evening as battle for places in the final list of 23 players for the Africa Cup of Nations rages.
“By lunch time Sunday, 31 players including injured Rizespur of Turkey striker, Uche Kalu were in camp battling for shirts, as Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, took time to drill the players on fitness and game reaction for over an hour under the early morning chilly condition of Faro.
“At the end of the exercise it was obvious that all the players were in prime condition for action at the AFCON 2013, as all turned out as early as 7:00am (Portuguese time which was 8:00am Nigerian time).
“Keshi again took time off to drum it into the ears of the players that they should not pressurise themselves but must be aware that Nigerians are very expectant of a super outing at AFCON 2013,”Alaiya stressed.
Team skipper, Joseph Yobo, declared that he was in camp with his mate to make sure that the glory days of Nigerian football are returned with a major trophy.
“We are here, ready to don the colours of our nation and we will not relent until we reach our goal. Luckily, we have a coaching crew that understands us well and I’m sure the players are ready to deliver,” Yobo declared with enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has surrendered in the country vs club row as regards Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi for the AFCON.
English Premier League outfit Newcastle have insisted Ameobi will not be allowed to feature at the Nations Cup for the Super Eagles.
Keshi left the door open for Ameobi to join the squad in training camp in Portugal on Saturday, but he did not.
“The chapter (Ameobi) is closed and we’re looking ahead now. The player did not get in touch and it is sad,” spokesman Alaiya confirmed.
He hinted that the final squad for the AFCON is most likely to be announced Tuesday evening after the team’s last training before a warm-up game against Cape Verde the following day.