Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has revealed that picking his final 23-man squad was very tough, but there were no sentiments involved.
Keshi cut African Nations Cup hero Sunday Mba, CHAN MVP Ejike Uzoenyi, long-serving forward Obinna Nsofor, as well as midfielders Nosa Igiebor and Joel Obi, forward Nnamdi Oduamadi and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
“This was a very tough decision to make. I wish I could have taken all 30 of them to the World Cup,” Keshi said.
“They have been with us all this time and come this far and I think it’s unfortunate that not everyone can make it.
“But we had to do what we had to do, and we had to do it without any sentiment. I have told them to be strong and to work harder.”
The seven cut players will be remain with the team until after tonight’s game against Greece.
Keshi said Mba had been late to Nigeria’s training camp due to a visa hitch but Keshi also revealed his disappointment at a lack of hunger from the CA Bastia man.
“His lateness to camp contributed (to his missing out) but outside that he did not show the hunger, the fight, we expected for him,” he said.
“We have only two and half weeks to prepare for the World Cup and he was not giving us what we wanted.
“He was very relaxed and it was unlike him.”
Nigeria open their World Cup campaign against Group G rivals Iran on June 16.