Friday, May 20, 2011

‘Please, have mercy on Osaze’

Mixed reactions have greeted the exclusion of England-based striker Osaze Odemwingie from the Nigeria squad for next month’s games against Argentina and Ethiopia.
Odemwingie has banged 15 goals in his debut season in the English Premier league, but has been sensationally dropped by Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, for walking out on the team in March.
Former international Felix Owolabi has implored Siasia to recall Osaze, while ex-Eagles skipper Stephen Keshi said the issue could have been better handled.
However, top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have said they stand by Siasia’s decision.
“I have heard that Osaze absconded from camp after the Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia and did not wait to play the friendly against Kenya. This is not good enough and it is an act of indiscipline by Osaze,” said Owolabi.
“But be as it may, I still want Siasia to tread softly on the boy’s matter. In as much as everybody that knows me that I don’t tolerate indiscipline from my players since I was disciplined during my playing days and I have always respected my coaches both at the club and national level.
“I am pleading with Siasia to forgive the boy and bring him back for the Ethiopia match at least. Siasia should forgive him and draw him nearer and make him see reasons why he should not behave the way he did in the first instance.
“In order to get the best from the team and achieve success, he needs to study these players and find a way of controlling their emotions, attitude, behaviour and temperament.”
The board member of the Shooting Stars of Ibadan further urged Osaze to shape up.
“Osaze should learn to behave himself and have respect for constituted authorities that include his coaches. I am sure the boy will change and turn a new leave,” he advised.
Keshi said: “I would have expected Siasia to sit down the player and asked him why he did what he did or slash his allowances.”
Several top NFF officials told that Siasia has the final say on his team and they fully support his quest to instil discipline in the Eagles.
“The technical committee meeting in Abuja on Thursday gave their full blessing to Siasia for trying to bring sanity to the national team,” said a top official.
“No player, no matter how good he thinks he is, is bigger than the country.”
Siasia and Osaze had major fallout during the 2008 Beijing Olympics where the striker was the “overage player” allowed for the football tournament.

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