The Super Eagles left Germany for Houston, USA without Ogenyi Onazi as planned. Instead, the player who won the Coppa Italia with his club Lazio on Sunday left for the venue from Lagos on Tuesday.
The Nigeria Football Federation had officially announced that the player was on his way to Germany on Monday just as Efe Ambrose who also won the Scottish Cup with Celtic on Sunday but the midfielder headed to Nigeria instead of Germany as expected.
One of Onazi’s associates, who monitored the player’s itinerary in the last 48 hours, confirmed to The PUNCH that Onazi was billed to leave for Houston on Wednesday but had to bring forward his departure schedule after he was again asked to be in the United States as quickly as possible.
He told our correspondent, “Onazi didn’t link up with the Eagles in Germany as expected but dashed home to work on his papers. He was indeed scheduled to travel on Wednesday but apparently (Stephen) Keshi did not approve that and so he quickly adjusted his programme and got a seat on a KLM flight on Tuesday. He was here to renew his residential papers but has now put the work on hold until after the Confederations Cup.”
Brown Ideye who was also permitted to stay back with his club is expected to join the team in America just before the game in Houston. The friendly is part of Nigeria’s preparation for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Kenya and Namibia and the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Nigeria will take on Mexico at the Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas on Friday in their last friendly game before the FIFA matches. Some other regulars like Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike have been ruled out from the series of matches on account of injuries.
Moses, who is with Chelsea on Tuesday, congratulated his old club Crystal Palace on their promotion to the English Premier League. He did so via his Twitter account just as he did when his last club Wigan Athletic won the FA Cup this month.
He tweeted, “Massive congratulations to my old team Crystal Palace on promotion to the prem!”
Palace had reached out to another Nigeria international Osaze Odemwingie during the season on possible transfer. It is being suggested that the new EPL team could turn again to the Nigerian as they rebuild to withstand the pressures of the top flight league.