Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has said there is no cause for alarm despite the late withdrawals of some key players in the Super Eagles. As at Wednesday, some of the invited players were yet to join the team at their Germany camp, prompting followers of the team to cast doubts over the ability of the African champions to face their opponents in a series of games lined up in May and June. The Eagles are preparing for Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying games and the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament.
Kalu Uche and Victor Moses withdrew from the team on Monday to join Emmanuel Emenike on the list of players who would not be available. All three are not available on the account of injuries. Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi is also not certain for the matches.
Keshi, however, said he is up to the challenges of using less established stars to prosecute competitions. He is confident in the fact that he qualified Togo for the 2006 Germany World Cup with Emmanuel Adebayor as virtually the only household name in the squad.
He said, “I am never one to run away from challenges. I have confronted them head-on all my life. I have very good relationship with each and everyone of my players, with mutual respect and regard being the bedrock. The players that we have invited for these matches are patriots.
“We have 16 players here now and team spirit is high. Everyone wants to play. What we will certainly not do is to beg anyone to play for Nigeria.”
Keshi said the late arrival of many of the players was expected as they have just ended tough seasons.
“Most of the players have just concluded very gruelling seasons and have needed to sort out personal issues, and of course, there are talks to hold ahead of next season. These talks have to be done now considering that the players would be away for about seven weeks, on duty for Nigeria,” he said.
Germany-based striker Joseph Akpala and Ukraine-based forward Babatunde Michael arrived at their Novina Hotel camp in Nuremberg Wednesday morning. John Ogu of the Portuguese league was being expected on Wednesday night, while defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile, as well as Nnamdi Oduamadi were being expected to join them on Thursday. Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama will arrive on Friday, while Efe Ambrose and Ogenyi Onazi have been granted permission to arrive on Saturday due to club commitments.
The team will fly out of Frankfurt on Tuesday morning to the USA.