29th March, 2011
Birmingham of Englandâ€™s Obafemi Martins, who missed Super Eaglesâ€™ Nations Cup match against the Wayla Antelopes of Ethiopia last weekend, will like to play todayâ€™s friendly match against the Harambee Stars of Kenya in Abuja.
Martins did not mince words while expressing his willingness to play in the new squad being assembled by Coach Samson Siasia, and declared: â€œI have told the Eaglesâ€™ technical crew that I want to play our next match because thatâ€™s the job I know how to do.
â€œIâ€™m not a bench warmer and should not be treated so. I was prepared for the encounter against Ethiopia on Sunday, but got the shock of my life when my name was missing from the final list of players selected by the coaches.
Martins, who scored Birminghamâ€™s second goal to win the League Cup for his Premier League side 2-1 against Arsenal last month, believes he has more to offer the senior national team.
â€œItâ€™s unfair for some people to say Iâ€™m not fit to play for my country. Itâ€™s normal for players to have knocks during trainings or matches. And if Iâ€™m not fit, I would not have honoured the invitation extended to me in the first place.
â€œSo, I want Siasia to give me a chance to play for my fatherland, Martins told P.M.Sports at the Eaglesâ€™ Transcorp Hilton Hotel camp in Abuja.
The former Newcastle goal poacher, currently on loan at Birmingham from Rubin Kazan of Russia said the spirit is very high in the Eagles camp.
â€œI think the players are willing to serve Nigeria, and with the calibre of players available, I think they will give Kenyaâ€™s senior team a good match today,” he said.
Ahead of the international friendly match against Kenya at the Abuja National Stadium, Coach Siasia has challenged the Eagles to raise their game.
â€œThe team will get better with every match and they have demonstrated that with the comprehensive 4-0 victory against Ethiopia on Sunday,” Siasia enthused.
The Eaglesâ€™ coach, who agreed that his team did not play a cohesive game in Sundayâ€™s encounter, disclosed that some of the players he left out of the match against Ethiopia may return to the squad against Kenya.
â€œAll the players cannot play at the same time. Our rebuilding process will continue until we get the best for Nigeria,â€ Siasia said.
Meanwhile, Victor Moses and Osaze Odemwingie have returned to England, while Nnamdi Odumadi of AC Milan and Ekhigo Ehiosun of Warri Wolves were recalled from the Olympic squad to beef up the Eagles for todayâ€™s clash.