By GEORGE ALUO
Very slim chance! This is what Spain-based returnee, Obafemi Martins has, as the battle for shirt rages among Nigerian internationals ahead of the South Africa 2013 Nations Cup. Just like Martins, Osaze Odemwingie, who recently indicated his interest to stage a comeback to the Eagles would have to fight with the last drop of his blood to get a shirt.
Martins, it would be noted, fired blank after seeing over 70 minutes of action in last Thursday’s grade A international friendly against Venezuela in Miami, USA. Eagles’ Manager, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, had before the match, made it clear to the players that their performance would be used as yardstick to determine those that will get his nod for the Nations Cup, where he is condemned to win the trophy going by the mandate given him by his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Obagoal, while ruing his failure to score in Miami, pleaded with Keshi to give him another chance, insisting that he will go goal-wire if given another opportunity. But a close pal of Keshi, who didn’t want his name in print told Daily Sunsports that given the way the duo of Nosa Igiebor and Brown Ideye played in Miami, it would be difficult for Martins to break into the team. He was quick to add that Osaze will equally sweat to pick a place.
He revealed that Keshi is sticking to his gun that current form and not name will count at the end of the day. “Beyond the goals scored by Igiebor and Ideye against Venezuela, they played so well and don’t forget that in that attack, we still have Emmanuel Emenike, Ike Uche, Victor Moses. Shola Ameobi and Bright Dike have just joined the race for a place after doing well in their debut for the country. If you look at it, it would be pretty difficult for Martins.
Osaze will equally have to prove himself on the pitch to convince Keshi to take him to South Africa.” The Eagles’ camp is billed to open mid next month with the home-based players camping in Abuja. The camping exercise will then shift to Faro, Portugal on January 3, where Keshi will name his final squad for the Nations Cup, which kicks off on January 19. Nigeria has been drawn in group C alongside defending champions, Zambia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.