Let Me Play Against Kenya, Martins Begs Siasia

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Birmingham of England’s Obafemi Martins, who missed Super Eagles’ Nations Cup match against the Wayla Antelopes of Ethiopia last weekend, will like to play today’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: “I have told the Eagles’ technical crew that I want to play our next match because that’s the job I know how to do.

“I’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 Birmingham’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.

“It’s unfair for some people to say I’m not fit to play for my country. It’s normal for players to have knocks during trainings or matches. And if I’m not fit, I would not have honoured the invitation extended to me in the first place.

“So, I want Siasia to give me a chance to play for my fatherland, Martins told P.M.Sports at the Eagles’ 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.

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“I think the players are willing to serve Nigeria, and with the calibre of players available, I think they will give Kenya’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.

“The 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 Eagles’ coach, who agreed that his team did not play a cohesive game in Sunday’s encounter, disclosed that some of the players he left out of the match against Ethiopia may return to the squad against Kenya.

“All the players cannot play at the same time. Our rebuilding process will continue until we get the best for Nigeria,” 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 today’s clash.

—Tunde Oyedele/Abuja