Estranged Super Eagles striker Ikechukwu Uche may have to pass through the proverbial eye of the needle to get another national team call up after Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said the player lacks discipline.
The Villarreal striker who has fired 12 goals thus far in the Spanish La Liga, was again overlooked by Keshi for next month’s crucial World Cup warm-up against Mexico when the list of players was released last week. Joseph Yobo who has not also played for the national team since February 2013 was listed. It was assumed that Uche was left out as a result of the groin injury he sustained in the Spanish league but MTNFootball.com quoting an official of the Nigeria Football Federation attributed Uche snubbing to indiscipline.
Keshi is said to have defended his decision by telling the NFF technical committee that the striker is not disciplined.
“Keshi said Ikechukwu (Uche) is not disciplined and that was why he did not call him up for the Mexico game,” a top official said.
Uche missed out on the 2010 World Cup on account of injury and may likely miss out of Brazil 2014 if the situation remains as it stands now. The once favourite hitman of the Eagles had poor showing at the 2013 African Nations Cup in South Africa but has since recovered his form as he was the highest scorer in the top five European leagues for the month of January before he copped the injury. He had been one of Nigeria’s most consistent goal scorers before Emmanuel Emenike emerged on the scene. Uche was the country’s leading scorer for the qualifying tournament for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
On Sunday, Enyimba of Nigeria qualified for the first round of the Confederation of African Football Champions League despite losing 2-1 to Anges de Notse of Togo in Lome. Enyimba’s goal in Lome was scored by new signing Abdulrahman Bashir in the 66th minute after the home opened scoring just before the interval.
The Aba based team advanced to the next round of the annual club competition 4-3 on aggregate having won the first game in Aba 3-1 a week ago. They will face AS Real Bamako of Mali in the next stage of the competition.
But it was sad story for Nigeria’s other representatives in the competition, Kano Pillars, who crashed out after they lost 4-3 on aggregate to AS Vita of DR Congo. Pillars who beat Vita 2-1 in Kano on Saturday could not scale through having lost the first leg 3-1 in Kinshasa a week ago.
Last year, Pillars crashed out to AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville in the first round of the competition.