Nigeria’s national team coach, Stephen Keshi has cleared the air on his choice of players for the forthcoming 2014 World Cup. Speaking to Vanguard, the former defender who has been criticized for not recalling the likes of Osaze Odewengie and Ike Uche maintained that team spirit and tactical considerations are his criteria for selecting players.
“It is wrong for any coach to shut the door against any player and ban such a player from playing for the National team. But time matters in all things including football. There are times good players may lose form and you allow them time to be fit again and there are times a player may not contribute to the success of a team due to behavioral problems and if you, as a coach, feel that it will be for the best interest of the team to allow such a player time to conform to the acceptable conducts, you do so to help the team.
I’m aware of the comments people have made on some of our players. All good players deserve to be in the national team but there are also team spirit considerations. There are tactical considerations. If you have a concept and a player does not and refuses to conform to that concept what do you do? What I want people to know is that I want to go to Brazil and do well. And I will not leave out any person who I feel will help us do well.
No reasonable coach will do that. If I leave out any player, it simply means that I feel that such a player may not help the general interest of the team in Brazil. It is a serious matter and it will not be nice to trivialize World Cup selection matters. It is a serious matter and I wouldn’t want sentiments to sway us.”