Emmanuel Emenike has said that he is prepared to stay out of the Super Eagles if coach Stephen Keshi believed he is the problem of the team.
Keshi has been quoted as saying he was unhappy with the AFCON 2013 top scorer, who he sensationally benched in last month’s AFCON qualifier against Congo in Calabar.
However, Emenike has quickly reacted to the comments of the coach, saying he has utmost respect for Keshi and will always do, but he has never been a problem to the Eagles and will never be.
“I have always treated Keshi like a father, and he has always lived in my heart to be a good father. Before now, we have been enjoying a smooth relationship and I see no reason why he should be holding grudges against me,” the star striker told Tidesports source in a most revealing interview.
“Keshi is a good coach, a coach with high pedigree. I give him all the respect I can give my father whenever I come for a national assignment.
“Before the 2013 Nations Cup, I could remember he called me to have a chat and I was ready to give him my best.
“My performance at the competition was inspired by Keshi. He showed me love, he put me through and I always respected his decisions. I never thought that I am bigger than any coach.”
He told Tidesports source that he was therefore surprised to read a comment that Keshi and some players in the team are not happy with him.
“Everything changed after the Nations Cup, everything about him towards me changed and I decided to stay on my own,” he further revealed.
“But I am very surprised by what he said that he and some players in the Eagles are not happy with me. Over what?
“I don’t want Nigerians to see me as being proud or arrogant, but if the coach thought inviting me to his team will not bring result or peace to the team, he can let me be.
“I have maintained a solid relationship to avoid quarreling with him, but if my invitation to play for Nigeria does not stand for peace, I will like to stay focused with my club.”
He added: “I have always loved to give my best for Nigeria and I always make it known that I can always fight to score goals for my country and I will not like coach Keshi to let Nigerians see me as an undisciplined player who is not ready to give them my best again.
“My Super Eagles career is as important as my club career. Coming to play for Nigeria was the biggest decision I have ever made in my life. And I appreciate the way the fans have been striving hard to cheer me up whenever I push for goal.”
Emenike further said he would appreciate it if his unhappy team mates could go public with his “sins”.
“I have never seen the Super Eagles camp as my father’s house, it’s a temporary place for everybody, and why should we be making problems for ourselves? he asked.
“As a matter of fact, I have no grudges with anybody in the team. I see everybody as my friend, I tried not to distinguish myself from any other player, as far as we have come to serve our country, we are equal.
“If Keshi thought inviting me is a problem to his selection or the team, I will prefer to stay back and maintain my big respect for him.
“The bottom line is that I don’t have problems with Keshi and I don’t have problems with him putting me on the bench. I am not bothered if he chose not to play me in a match and the fact remains that he made me in the Eagles and I will always give him his deserved respect anytime.”
Emenike has not scored for Nigeria since October last year, and that has raised questions over his commitment to the national team, but he has insisted he has been firing blanks because the chances are not being created for him again.
“At the World Cup, I played every role, of course my role is to stay in front and score goals, but in a situation where chances were not coming, it will be difficult for any striker to score,” he explained to our source.
“I am not a magician, I just laugh at some people who talk about my commitment in terms of goals. The right issue has not been addressed. At the Nations Cup, I scored goals because the chances were created and I also fought to score goals. I will score goals when the ball comes out from the right channels.
“I am never bothered by the critics, they have forgotten that form is a temporary situation, but class is always there for life, so I am not bothered.
“My commitment is always like previously, but things need to get better.”
Aiteo Cup: Diri Hails Bayelsa Finalists
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has lauded the feat of the state-owned football teams who reached the finals in the male and female categories of the 2021 Aiteo Cup.
Diri, while congratulating Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens for their outstanding performances, praised their indomitable spirit and resilience in surmounting the odds to qualify for the last stage of Nigeria’s oldest football competition.
Bayelsa United, who plays in the second tier Nigerian National League, on Friday defeated Premier League neighbours Rivers United 1-0 in the semi-finals, while Bayelsa Queens crushed perennial rivals Rivers Angels 5-0 to reach the women’s final.
The Governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, on Saturday, described Bayelsa United as “giant killers” for defeating Premier League sides Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Rivers United on their way to the final.
“The excellent run of Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens in this year’s Aiteo Cup is very heartwarming. Both teams reaching the finals is no mean feat. I congratulate them for making the state proud and setting a record of teams from the state playing in the finals of the male and female categories of the same competition for the first time,” Diri stated.
“By their outstanding performance, Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens have shown that the sporting revolution of our Prosperity Administration, which resulted in Bayelsa placing third in the last National Sports Festival in Edo State for the first time, is on course. I therefore urge them to complete their excellent run in the competition by bringing home the trophies.
D’Tigress To Play Mozambique In Afrobasket
Nigeria’s senior basketball team, D’Tigress, have been drawn to face Mozambique and a yet to qualify team in Group B of the 2021 Women’s Afrobasket, which holds from September 17 to 27 in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The draw was held in Yaounde last Saturday.
D’Tigress will be hoping to retain the title they won two years ago in Senegal, where they defeated the hosts in the final. A win in Cameroon will mean they have won the last three editions of the tournament.
The Nigerians will know their final group opponent when the FIBA Zone 6 qualifiers take place from August 16 to 22.
In Group A, hosts Cameroon will face Cape Verde and Kenya, while Senegal, the most successful team in the competition’s history with 11 first-place finishes, will slug it out with Egypt and Gabon in Group C.
Mali, Ivory Coast, and a team to be decided via wild card will fight for a slot in the next round in Group D.
Ebonyi Football Fans Celebrate Nwankwo Kanu At 45
Football fans in Ebonyi State yesterday, celebrated the birthday of formerNigerian international and Arsenal legend, Nwankwo Kanu.
The former Super Eagles skipper turned 45 yesterday.
Tidespoets source gathered that the 1993 FIFA U-17 world cup winner, fondly called “Papillo’’ by his fans had 86 caps for Nigeria.
The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri’s talisman scored 13 goals for Nigeria in an enviable career that spanned from 1994 to 2010.
Kanu is a recipient of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), an Olympic Games football gold medalist and had illustrious club careers with Ajax Amsterdam of Holland, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion of England.
Defunct Ebonyi Angels FC of Abakaliki Defender, James Onele, said that Kanu thrilled soccer fans across the world with sublime skills and trademark passes.
“Kanu won two African Footballer of the Year awards, an AFCON silver medal, four AFCON bronze medals among other honours.
“He was the first Nigerian, alongside Finidi George to win the prestigious UEFA champions league trophy with Ajax in 1995,” said Onele.
An Arsenal FC supporter, Ejike Okoro, said the club’s fans were proud of Kanu’s achievements during his time with the English Premier League side.
“Kanu played 197 times for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and was part of the club’s invincible team that did not lose any match in the 2003-04 EPL season.
“He was instrumental in endearing Arsenal to millions of Nigerian soccer fans, despite later dropping to lowly-rated clubs such as Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion,” Okoro said.
A banker and football enthusiast, Chief Barry Ogoh, told active footballers to emulate Papillo in investing adequately for the ‘rainy day’.
“Kanu, Augustine J.J. Okocha, among other ex-internationals are still financially stable as many ex-internationals have become bankrupt.
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