Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has explained that he selected his list of players for the 2013 African Nations Cup professionally without malice or grudges against any of the dropped stars.
Keshi told reporters in a chat in Abuja yesterday that he picked players he felt he would need in South Africa and that he did not put sentiment in his selection of the 32-man squad.
He said that Osaze Odemwingie, Taiye Taiwo, Obafemi Martins, Onyekachi Apam and home boys Henry Uche and Papa Idris were dropped because he has better choices in the positions they play, adding that the players he picked are those he felt would play to his tactics and philosophy.
“I have no grudge against any of the dropped players and I want to say that they still remain members of the team and I would certainly call on them in our future games. It is not over for them as far as the Eagles are concerned,” Keshi said.
“The truth is that not every player would go to the Nations Cup. I have selected those who are fit and mentally prepared for the task ahead. Apam is one player I wanted to see play again but injury knocked him out.
As for the inclusion of Daniel Shittu and Rabiu Ibrahim, Keshi stated that the big Millwal FC defender has been doing well and he wants to try him out in Faro and see if Rabiu would be able to add creativity in the Super Eagles midfield.
He debunked reports that the Technical Committee of the NFF influenced his selection, noting that they only asked him about the quality of players he invited and the number he was taking to Faro.
“That team is mine and I take responsibility for every player in that list,” he insisted.
In the meantime, the Eagles coach has said he wishes to run the rule over shock invitee Rabiu Ibrahim who has failed to establish himself at Celtic.
Ibrahim has only managed a handful of games in his second season at Celtic Park and has yet to be capped by Nigeria at full international.
“Keshi said he has watched Rabiu in a couple of cup games and will want to have a closer look at the midfielder in Faro, Portugal,” a top official told MTNFootball.com.