By Olawale Ajimotokan
Shola Ameobi’s wait for a Nigerian international call up may finally pay up when the national team regroups in the last stage of Africa Cup of Nations 2013 qualifier in September.
Nigeria will know its rivals over two legs in the final qualifying stanza to South Africa 2013 in September and October, at the draws which come up next month.
We learnt Tuesday night from national team sources that the coaching crew led by Stephen Keshi, is willing to consider the Newcastle United forward to bring some physical presence to the team.
Though Nigeria defeated Rwanda 2-0 last Saturday to advance to the final knock out phase of South Africa 2013, the team obviously has weaknesses in attack as it struggled to score in previous matches.
Under the watch of Keshi, the Eagles have only scored 10 goals in 10 matches, a ratio of one goal per match, since November last year.
Officials believe that Ameobi is a rugged forward who can hold up play to enable other players get into position and will be a good addition to the Nigerian attack.
Technically, his aerial power can also be brought into play considering his ability to head the ball in the six yard box.
Though Ameobi was cleared last year by FIFA along
Victor Moses to represent Nigeria, he has largely been ignored by the national coaches.
He represented England at youth international level and is eligible to play for Nigeria as he has not played for England at full level.
His international clearance was a rigorous procedure as he was only cleared following the intervention of FIFA and the FA of London.
While processing the nationality switch for him and Moses, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) contacted the Nigerian Population Commission (NPC) for additional documentation on his birth record which was forwarded to the FA of London.
Though he grew up in England, Ameobi was born in Zaria, on October 12, 1981 to Nigerian parents.
Former Eagles coach, Samson Siasia made clear his intention to draft Ameobi into the national team and asked the NFF to work out his clearance.
But the gangling forward has not got a break since Siasia was fired in October last year following the failure of Nigeria to reach the last Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.