South Africa 2013 Africa Nations Cup hero, Sunday Mba, and Italy-based Nnamdi Oduamadi have upset Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi, following their late arrival at the Super Eagles camp in London.
The PUNCH learnt that both players had not reached the camp when the other players filed out for their first training session on Monday and efforts made on behalf of the players by the team secretary, Dayo Achor, to explain the reasons for their delay did very little to change the position of the coach. Keshi had told the media that he didn’t expect any player to arrive in London late as every European league would have been over and every World Cup-bound team in camp by Monday.
It was explained that the duo had hitches with their travelling documents. The report from London camp listing Mba as having arrived in camp late came as a surprise to our correspondent as the Eagles officials had listed him on Sunday among the players that travelled from Abuja to London. We had yet to get a response from the camp by 9pm when we went to press.
Nigeria’s World Cup preparations effectively commenced on Monday night at the Fulham FC training ground with 28 players. Report from the camp has also suggested that none of the players had injuries as originally feared. Returnees Joseph Yobo and Osaze Odemwingie were part of the process on Monday. Yobo last featured for Nigeria in February 2013 while Osaze was dropped in 2012.
Yobo said on Monday, “I am humbled and I pray that I will justify the confidence reposed in me.”
Osaze added, “We will do our best in Brazil to justify this unity that we have in camp.”
Before the players had their first training session, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Dalhatu Tafida, hosted them to a lunch. He said he was hopeful that the Eagles would surprise the world.
He told the players, “I know President Goodluck Jonathan will reward you excellently and I will also be in Abuja, when a huge reception is organised for the team after the World Cup. I am very sure the President will not fail to say thank you, just play your part and leave the rest to him.”
Nigeria will face Scotland on Wednesday in their first friendly lined up leading to Brazil 2014. The Eagles are drawn in Group F against Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran in the first round of Brazil 2014.