Nigerian coach wants Newcastle striker Ameobi for Malawi game

Nigeria’s Head Coach Stephen Keshi has hinted he will include the experienced striker Shola Ameobi in his team’s deciding match against Malawi in September in the Brazil 2014 World Cup Group F qualifiers.

The 31-year-old Nigerian international plays for Newcastle United in the English Premier League (EPL) and had been prevented from playing for the Super Eagles due to a clause in his club contract.

However, the player is now free to play for his country after the hindrance was removed in his contract and Keshi is excited at the prospect of having him for selection against the Flames.

“He’s been dealing with this for a while and I’m happy it [the clause] has now been removed, just as we were giving up on him, he called to give us the good news,” the coach told BBC Sport while dropping a hint that will be invited for the crucial match.

Nigeria coach Keshi
Nigeria coach Keshi

Besides including the English Premier League striker, a former England youth international, the Nigerian coach is leaving no stone unturned as he also has plans to include Victor Anichebe, another EPL striker playing for Everton FC.

“I would love to have all my strikers available and Ameobi, Emmanuel Emenike, Brown Ideye and Victor Anichebe are all fantastic players. When we start selecting the squad to face Malawi, to have someone like Ameobi available is excellent for us. It is superb to have all these players available for our important games because it will help our quest for a World Cup ticket.

“I’ve always admired Ameobi’s wealth of experience and I respect his personality, for him to make himself available is fantastic,” said Keshi.

But Flames Captain Joseph Kamwendo told Nyasa Times names do not play football as this will not be the first time, if featured, the Flames players will be playing against a big name.

“Names do not play football, it will be 11 players against 11 so nothing to fear. After all we have played great players more than Shola,” said the Flames captain who plies his trade in Mozambique.

In their first meeting in June last year, the Super Eagles held the Flames at home to a one-all draw at Kamuzu Stadium in a game that also featured Nigeria’s star player Victor Moses who also plays in England for Chelsea FC.

The game produced a goal for each side in the last two minutes. Nigeria went ahead in the 90th minute but Flames midfielder John Banda came with a dramatic equaliser two minutes into additional time.

Nigeria stay top of Group F, which also has Kenya and Namibia (who are already out), with nine points while Malawi is on second place with seven and the Flames need nothing else than a win if they are to proceed to the next stage.

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