West Bromwich Albion striker Osaze Odemwingie faces being banned from playing for Nigeria for life after his recent outburst during which he criticized the authorities for not inviting him for the impending African Cup of Nations.
Unhappy at being left out of the provisional 32-man squad that will begin camping in Faro this week, Osaze lashed out at head coach Stephen Keshi and the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF). Osaze had said that Keshi has no footballing reasons not to invite him to camp and criticized the way he found out about being dropped via the media rather than from the coach himself.
One top NFF official responded by saying that Osaze would not be allowed to go unpunished for insulting the NFF, Keshi and Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo. He added that Osaze took matters too far with his outburst on Twitter and as such must pay for his actions.
According to NFF sources, Osaze’s case will now be referred to the federation’s disciplinary committee to investigate and make recommendations to the executive committee for the next line of action. He added: “Who does Osaze think he is that makes him think that he can abuse everybody and go unpunished?
“Well, he may think he does not need us because he also holds a European Union passport but we shall make a statement with the action we will take against him. We are 100 per cent in support of Keshi because we know he picked his team without any ill-feelings.”
Osaze meanwhile has conceded that being dropped from the Nations Cup squad effectively ends his international career. He added that it is just as well he was not invited to the Faro camp, as it is not ideal to play for a coach who does not want him.
“It is clear now that my days with the Super Eagles are over as I expected to be left out of the ANC squad because we have had a few issues before. I played a very good 10 years from 2002 to 2012 but I don’t want to be with a coach who doesn’t want me.
“I still love my country and care about the football but I already wasn’t feeling the way I would have liked to feel. Last month I spoke with Keshi because I didn’t play in a few games with the national team and he said my body language didn’t show that I wanted to play for the team but body language for the Nigerian coach is that you have to be calling him all the time and greeting him but for me football is an official thing,” Osaze added.
Pointing out that he is no sycophant, Osaze said: “You invite a player and he comes. I don’t have to be like his son, calling every day and asking how are you, sir? I’m not that type of person. They take it as arrogance but my mentality is different.”
Osaze will now channel all his energies towards helping Albion sustain their top-six push in the Barclays Premier League. He is also expecting his first child any minute from now and not being in camp, he will be able to be present when his wife gives birth.