‘Osaze Was Dropped Because Of ‘Character Problems’

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Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has said striker Osaze Odemwingie was dropped from the 2013 AFCON because of “character problems”.

Keshi caused a nation-wide stir when he axed West Brom striker Odemwingie from his provisional squad to the Nations Cup in South Africa.

“We decided not to take some of these superstars to the Nations Cup because it is a long period of time and for the long period of time, you need characters who go together,” Keshi said on a television programme monitored in Lagos.

“And if you have one or two who do not get along, forget about the superstars, the team will fall apart. I can bring a player in for a game. We can manage some of these players with a little bit of character problems, but when it comes to a long period of time, that’s difficult.

“Odemwingie is a very good player, a player I love to have in the team, but he wants to do what he wants to do.

“In the national team, where I was captain for 14 years, you are nothing but a figure in the team, you are not bigger than Nigeria. If you are not ready to give the green and white shirt the due respect, you are walking out of my team.

“We talked on the phone, I told him what I wanted from him, but he had his own notion and I said for now, I will skip you.”

Keshi also revealed that Obafemi Martins was not ready for the Nations Cup, but he has not shut the door against the Levante striker.

“Martins I was sure was not ready for the Cup of Nations. He is still part of the group. If his name is in the next call-up, if he wants to come, we will see how it goes,” he said.

The Eagles coach admitted he missed Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi, whose presence in the dressing room would have improved his team.

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