Football News

Akpokona backs Odemwingie snub

Created on 25 Dec., 2012 8:25 PM GMT

Former Nigeria assistant coach Lawrence Akpokona believes Peter Odemwingie was justifiably omitted from the country's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad.

West Brom striker Odemwingie criticised the decision of Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi to shut him out of the squad that is currently preparing for the South Africa-based tournament in January.

Akpokona believes that Keshi has the right to select players based on what he has seen on and off the pitch.

"If I am Stephen Keshi, I will do the same thing. Any player that feels he is too big to respect what the coach wants is not fit to be in that team," Apokona told

"Osaze (Odemwingie) has not shown any maturity in the way he handled the issues. There is nothing wrong in talking. But there is everything good in saying the right words and at the right time.

"I am inĀ  support of Keshi in everything he has done. He is the man in charge and any player that is not ready to give his all to the coach should not expect to still play for the same coach."

He revealed that the Odemwingie he knew some years ago was a humble boy, determined and passionate about the game.

"I was coach of Insurance in 2001 when Osaze joined the team from a Lagos side. His father was a long-time team doctor for Insurance and it was as if he was made for the team right from birth. I watched him in training and concluded that if he keeps his head high he will go places.

"I am surprised to see and hear that Osaze is causing so much problems for the coaches in the national team. Keshi needs players who are loyal and are ready to abide by everything he wants.

"The Super Eagles are going into a tournament and they cannot achieve their set target with this kind of distraction but I am happy the team is focussed on their mission in South Africa.

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