Osaze Odemwingie will not be going to America
By Tunde Sulaiman
Despite praising Osaze Odemwingie for his brace against Southampton on Monday night, it still was not enough to get the West Brom striker a call up into Stephen Keshi’s list for next week’s international friendly against Venezuela.
Rather the ‘Big Boss’ has opted to invite Israel-based goalkeeper, Austin Ejide, Levante star, Obafemi Martins and Newcastle United ace, Shola Ameobi along with eight other foreign-based players for the match taking place in Miami, Florida, United States of America.
Keshi had opened camp on Sunday in Abuja with 26 home-based professionals, from which 15 will be picked for the trip to America.
Wednesday’s match at Marlins Park is one of a number of games meant to prepare the two-time African champions for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa, starting on January 19.
Ameobi, cleared to play for Nigeria last year alongside Victor Moses after a long-drawn process, gets his first call and battles for a place upfront with Moses, Ukraine-based Brown Ideye, Martins and a trio of home boys.
A surprise name on the list is former junior international defender, Apam Onyekachi, back from injury at Nice FC of France, with Portugal-based defender Elderson Echiejile also heading to America.
Chelsea FC of England star and the only Nigerian player still in the hunt for the African Player of the Year award, Mikel Obi tops a midfield cast that includes former junior international, Raheem Lawal, Ogenyi Eddy Onazi and Nosa Igiebor.
The former national team skipper has made it clear that he is still in the hunt for one or two more players before settling on his final squad for the Nations Cup finals.
THE INVITED FOREIGN-BASED PROS
Goalkeeper: Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (FC Braga, Portugal); Apam Onyekachi (Nice FC, France)
Midfielders: Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Raheem Lawal (Adana Demirspor, Turkey)
Forwards: Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kyiv, Ukraine); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Obafemi Martins (Levante FC, Spain)