Nigeria striker, Peter
Odemwingie has said that his relationship with coach Stephen Keshi has been patched up after talks.
The pair fell out after Odemwingie was omitted from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad and took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
“I have been speaking with the coach, it’s the only right thing to do,” the Stoke striker told Tidesports source.
“I had to be humble and make a step forward towards my senior colleagues,” added the 32-year-old.
Odemwingie was upset to be overlooked for the tournament in South Africa and at the time he claimed he was dropped because he often speaks his mind.
“Keshi can do without me at the World Cup and my life will go on as well, but the most important thing is mutual respect”
He also accused Keshi of disrespecting him because he the coach did not inform him personally of the decision.
Keshi responded by saying “it was nothing personal “ and 16 months on Odemwingie appears to have come to terms with what happened.
“You can’t continue to stay in that angry state of mind. Staying in that state, it’s not the right thing to do. It’s never helpful for anyone,” Odemwingie said.
“It was very disappointing at the time, it was hard to accept it. I had a strong feeling that it was Nigeria’s time to win it. I was as frustrated as any other player.”
Odemwingie was proved right in his instinct that Nigeria’s time had come again – they won the trophy for a third time – and he still sounds regretful when he reflects on the past.
“I thought we could win it; Cameroon and Egypt were not there, Ghana were struggling and a few players were missing so I felt it was our chance. But I didn’t make the squad,” he said.
“And it would have been the tournament that I would have got scored goals than before, because I had moved to the Premier League and improved as a player – especially in front of goal.”
Despite his sense that he missed out on a golden opportunity, Odemwingie now seems ready to let the bad feelings go and he is generous in his praise of the players who took Nigeria to the title.
“I’m very happy that we won it in the end because many names that had not been in the frame for the squad for the past 10 years were there and they helped the team lift the trophy,” he said.
Odemwingie last played for Nigeria in February 2012 – a goalless draw with Rwanda in a Nations Cup qualifier
He also feels it went some way to making up for, what he feels, had been an underachieving generation.
“When we talk about the generation that just passed, we wish we won more for Nigeria. We won silver at the 2008 Olympics, it’s good but it’s not gold. We won three bronze medals in the Nations Cup, which was still good but the frustrations were there,” he said.
A maturing Odemwingie, who is soon to be a father for the second time, appears to be finding humility after a difficult couple of years that have included bust-ups with Keshi, the Nigeria Football Federation and also a notorious transfer debacle while at English Premier League West Brom.
He credits Nigerian team psychologist, Dr. Robinson Okosun, for helping him, particularly in improving his relationship with Keshi. Okosun visited Odemwingie in Cardiff and told the player that Keshi wished him well and had no hard feelings towards him.
And Odemwingie said that in his recent discussions with Keshi, the coach has been consistent in saying that his decisions are taken for the good of the team and not one individual.
“For me to hear that was very important on a human level. It’s not about people, its always about the country. We’re all defending the colours of our nation,” he said.
“Coach Keshi can do without me at the World Cup and my life will go on as well, but the most important thing is mutual respect.
“Now I know how he does things and how he wants things done and vice versa.”
Looking ahead to this summer’s tournament in Brazil, where Nigeria will face Argentina. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran in Group F, Odemwingie has declared himself available for selection and Keshi has not ruled out the possibility of picking him.
As time has healed the rift between the two men, time will also tell if Odemwingie gets a shot at redemption in Super Eagles colours.
CAF Mulls Super League Idea
The Confederation of African Football [CAF] is discussing the idea of introducing an African Super League, a continental competition which would likely replace the current CAF Champions League and hopefully boost revenue for the organising body.
The revelation was made as CAF President Patrice Motsepe issued a statement outlining the changes and reforms the new leadership is making to ensure African football is globally competitive and self-sustaining.
The idea has taken shape even despite the disastrous European Super League [ESL] proposal earlier this year, which caused major controversy before being banned after most founding member clubs bowed to fan pressure and pulled out.
“ExCo [the CAF executive committee] may have to discuss and consider new CAF competitions which may generate additional funding or income for CAF, its member associations and bodies and also contribute to African football becoming globally competitive and self-sustaining,” Motsepe was quoted as saying by Tidesports source.
“In this regard, we are assessing and [are] in preliminary discussions to start an inclusive and broadly supported and beneficial CAF African Super League. We have been following the attempts by some top European clubs to form a Euro Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls.”
CAF is looking to boost income after recent forensic auditing revealed that the organisation has been beset by financial irregularities.
NPFL: Rivers United’s Coach Praises Players
The Chief Coach of Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Ndubuisi Nduka, has praised his players after a 1-0 win over Katsina United FC in the match day 28 of the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) in Port Harcourt.
He stated that his boys (players) gave all their best to ensure they secured the maximum three points for the team, and described the encounter as very tough.
Nduka, said this on Sunday, during a post match interview with sports journalists, after the Pride of Rivers, defeated their opponents 1-0, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
According to him, what made the match more difficult for his players was that they failed to utilise goal opportunities they created in the first half of the game.
The only goal of the game came in the 77th minute by home boy, Malachi Ohawume, who made his goals four for this league season.
“It was a tough game; I think our boys gave it all.
What made it more difficult for us was the chances we lost especially in the first half, “ Nduka said.
He explained that the second round of the league is always difficult because every team is fighting to be at top and some are fighting not to be relegated.
“At this point and time of the league, the second round, we are stretching to the finishing point.
“It is always difficult and if you remember the position of Katsina United, they are not safe so they are looking for where to pick points, so I gave kudos to my boys as they secured three points for us, “ he stated.
Rivers United is now 4th on the log after 28 matches with 48 points.
By: Kiadum Edookor
Hockey Championship: Team Rivers’ Performance Excites Coach
The Head coach of Team Rivers State, (female) hockey, Comfort Nya, has commended her players after they defeated team Edo, 3-1 in the ongoing, 2021 Mabisel National Hockey Championship (MNHC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
She, described the match as one of the toughest games they have played, saying that the calibre of players she saw in the team Edo lineup was intimidating.
Nya said this on Monday in her post match interview with sports journalists, after their first victory in the championship, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports in Port Harcourt.
According to her, their first game in the championship was difficult because of the heavy downpour, adding that they could not play well but today they are awesome.
“It was a tough one, honestly speaking I would not tell lies, and the players I saw in team Edo lineup are old and good players and my girls are just upcoming.
“I was thinking of draw or let them just play but with this result I am so happy with their performance, “Nya said.
The coach further explained that their next outing will be against team Kaduna, they are going to do more better.
“Our first game was disturbed by heavy rainfall, they could not play well but today they have performed well.
“In our next game against team Kaduna, we are going to do better,” She stated..
By: Kiadum Edookor
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