Keshi denies deal on Ameobi, Shittu
National team coach Stephen Keshi has reiterated that there is no deal with English Premier League side Newcastle United over the release of Shola Ameobi for the Africa Nations Cup. He has also denied any such an arrangement with English Championship side Millwall on the release of Nigerian defender Daniel Shittu.
Keshi who spoke on Tuesday in Abuja said, “I never entered into any deal with any manager and will not because the two players in question are international stars and the rules are very clear about when they should be released for international assignments if their country so desires them.”
But despite Keshi’s confidence on getting his players from England, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was also so sure of his facts on Monday when he said that Newcastle striker Ameobi will not be going with the Super Eagles to the Africa competition with Nigeria. He based his conviction on something he claims the national coach knows about.
He said, “Shola won’t be going. The national team manager knows the reasons, which I am keeping to myself.”
The managers of the Nigerian team have also said that they have followed laid down procedure in country/club relationship under FIFA rules by officially writing to the two clubs for the release of the player within the specified time frame.
For Shittu, the 32-year-old defender has stated in the past that he would honour a national call over club action, but the reaction from Millwall coach Kenny Jackett suggests the defender’s interest may not be welcomed by the club.
Jacket expects Shittu to ignore the invite. The player has been an inspiration to his teammates since he was made the stand-in captain following Paul Robinson’s injury.
Jackett said on the club’s website, “I don’t think he’s going to go and I don’t think he’s been in touch with them (Nigeria). At the moment that’s the decision. It was a surprise but it shows how well Danny has done. He’s only in the preliminary squad so that’s going to be cut down. But congratulations to him because he’s in there based on his performances.”
Keshi also said in Abuja that he was not making any promises about winning the Nations Cup but was sure that his team has the capacity to excel at the tournament.
“We have never let Nigerians down and we will not let them down at SA 2013.”