Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, and West Brom’s striker, Osaze Odemwingie, should end their war of words over the national team list to next month’s African Cup of Nations in South Africa in the interest of the team, Chief Olusegun Runsewe cautioned yesterday. Runsewe, a patron of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) spoke yesterday in a statement while reviewing the Eagles’ programme for Africa’s top soccer competition.
“There is no need for any distraction at a time when all hands should be on deck to ensure total victory for Nigeria in South Africa,” the Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) said. According to him, when Nigeria won the Cup of Nations at home in 1980 and in Tunisia in 1994, “there was absolute team spirit.” He said issues arising from the team list especially the exclusion of Odemwingie from the squad should not lead to a spat between the player and the coach, but the disagreement should be amicably resolved.
“They should give the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Minister of Sport, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the chance to intervene,” he said. Runsewe, who is a believer in using sport to drive tourism, said he had already started working at giving the full backing of the NTDC to the team and to drive Nigerian tourism with the competition, said Nigeria had a bright chance to excel with the quality of its squad. He said what was needed now was for the team to embark on its final phase of preparation in unity, so that it could confront the opponents at its best.
“I have no doubt that Nigeria can win the Cup of Nations in South Africa because Keshi has the winning attitude and the players look strong enough to deliver,” he said. Odemwingie last weekend lashed out at Keshi, the NFF and even the media on twitters in response to his exclusion by Keshi from the team, which is travelling to Faro, Portugal tomorrow for the final phase of preparation for the Cup of Nations. Runsewe said he expected all Nigerians to give the Super Eagles the maximum support. so that the team can perform.