Keshi Has Final Say On World Cup Squad –Chukwu

Keshi Has Final Say On World Cup Squad –Chukwu

Christian Chukwu says the Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi will have the final say on the country’s squad for the summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Keshi has reportedly come under pressure from some officials of the Nigeria Football Federation to name their favourite players – including Villarreal’s Ikechukwu Uche and Stoke City’s Osaze Odemwingie – in his 23-man squad for the World Cup.

And former Nigeria coach Chukwu, who denied knowledge any moves by the football body to force some players on Keshi, warned against pressuring the Eagles manager to take any player to Brazil against his wish.

“People can express their opinions on the World Cup squad but they should allow Keshi decide the players who should go to Brazil,” the ex-Eagles captain, who is a member of the NFF technical committee, told our correspondent on the telephone during the week.

“We shouldn’t put pressure on Keshi to pick the players we want for the World Cup, or drop those we don’t like from his squad.

“Keshi picked the players that won the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa last year, and those who gave us a ticket to the World Cup.

“If he believes Osaze and Uche are good enough for the World Cup, they should be in the squad.

“And if he doesn’t want them, we should respect his decision and encourage the players he selects for the tournament.

“A coach considers many things before picking a player for a match or a tournament. The best player may not fit into his plans. Every coach has his approach to the game and we must realise this.”

The Nigeria ’80 Africa Cup of Nations winner said the NFF technical committee could only suggest and not insist on the inclusion of any player in the World Cup squad.

Chukwu said, “Since Keshi took over, the technical committee hasn’t forced any player on him. The committee only suggests but Keshi has the final say.

“Keshi will be allowed to make his selection without any interference. He’s in charge of the team and he’s the person to blame if anything bad happens in Brazil.

“Like other Nigerians, the NFF wants Keshi to succeed and we will support him.”

The former Kenya coach is confident that the Eagles will perform in Brazil, saying Keshi’s experience in big tournaments will help the team.

But he expressed his concern over the number of Nigeria’s first team players warming the bench in their clubs in Europe, saying “it’s worrying”.

“I’m disturbed that our star players are no longer regulars in their clubs,” the former Enugu Rangers defender said.

“I think we can still perform in Brazil with a teamwork approach.”


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