NGR VS VENEZUELA: KESHI APPROVES MIKEL, MOSES WITHDRAWAL
Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has said that the withdrawal of Chelsea duo Mikel Obi and Victor Moses from the Nigerian team to play an international friendly match against Venezuela on Wednesday is acceptable. Keshi who spoke before the Eagles boarded a Delta airlines flight to the USA on Sunday, said that their absence would not reduce the quality of the Nigerian side.
He said, 'I have been there before and we don't have any grudges against players withdrawing from international friendlies especially when they are compelled to do that. But in any case, we want to be told on time so that we can make replacements.'
Mikel and Moses who featured in Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday and French based central defender; Onyekachi Apam will not be part of the match in Miami, Florida, United States.
Keshi said on Sunday that the trio had different reasons for not being part of the game, but insisted that their absence should not bring fears to Nigerians over the encounter.
Mikel, it was explained, 'has family matters to settle bothering on his future as a father, following some domestic accidents.' No further detail was given on the family matters he has to settle.
'Bright Dike, a Timberwolves player, in the American MLS has already been picked to replace Mikel and we are sure that he will do well in the encounter, especially as he is based in the United States,' Keshi said.
Sharks of Port Harcourt's Gomo Onduku, who has been in splendid form at the national camp has been drafted to replace Moses and was part of the team that travelled on Sunday via Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. All the home based players in the squad were issued American visas on Friday in Abuja after the initial fears expressed by the Eagles managers.
All other foreign based players invited for the encounter have since confirmed their early arrival in Miami.
Nigeria Football Federation President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari led the delegation for the friendly. The match against the South Americans is part of Nigeria's preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted in South Africa.