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Kanu Begs NFF to Mediate in Keshi, Odemwengie Issue


Former international star Nwankwo Kanu has tasked the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to end the cat and dog relations between Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi and Osaze Odemwengie.

Kanu told reporters Wednesday night that Odemwengie, who was omitted from the Eagles roster for the Africa Cup of Nations campaign after he fell out with Keshi, still has role in the national team.

He said the NFF has a duty to help in patching up whatever differences was existing between Keshi and Odemwengie who plays for English top side West Bromwich Albion in the interest of the national team.

The former Arsenal striker and Nigerian team captain, however, insisted that Keshi remains the boss and reserves the final say on which player he will like to work with.

“They (Keshi and Osaze) have to sort it out and the NFF has to be involved and make sure that is resolved. This is a matter between the player and the coach and whatever decision the coach takes is final but Osaze is a very good player who is still needed by Nigeria. There is a deep problem now and the NFF has to come in and make sure that the issues are settled,” Kanu said.

Despite Kanu’s peace making initiative, it is unlikely Keshi will shift ground by re-admitting Odemwengie to the national team fold after he recently slammed the player for not having the right attitude required in the national team.

Keshi braved the odds when he ended Nigeria’s 19-year wait for an Africa Cup of Nations title after he omitted Odemwengie and a host of established regulars, including Taiye Taiwo, Obafemi Martins and Yakubu Aiyegbeni from his plans towards the tournament.

The victory at South Africa 2013 without some of the old band vindicated Keshi in leaving them out and has stoked the debate that their services are no longer required in the national team ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.

Giving further insight on the exclusion of the senior players, Kanu, who represented Nigeria in six Africa Cup of Nations finals, said the import of the triumph in South Africa without the aid of some regulars is that the country is blessed with a glut of talent.

“I won’t say they are no longer needed. What it means is that Nigeria is blessed with players and nobody is indispensable and bigger than the country. A national call is an honour which you have to appreciate by making yourself available if your country invites you,” Kanu said.

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