Ameobi: I've Not Forgotten My Roots

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Shola Ameobi has made a bold declaration that he is excited to show he has never thought of turning his back on his country of origin, Nigeria despite spending 26 years of his life in England.

The Newcastle United forward is set to make his debut for Nigeria’s Super Eagles in an international friendly against Venezuela in Miami, Florida in the US on Wednesday.

“I’m really excited. Nigeria is where I’m from, that’s my heritage and I’ve never forgotten my roots. The majority of my family members are from Nigeria and they’re really excited about this. My parents are really, really happy but they would have supported me either way. It’s a case of better late than never,” Ameobi said in Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Mail.

The 31-year-old striker said he wants to do his best in his first appearance for Nigeria.

He added that his decision to choose the Super Eagles is driven by the dream of wanting to be “an international one.”

“I want to do the best that I can, I don’t just want to be a local hero, and I want to be an international one. That’s what has driven the decision.

“This is the first opportunity that has arisen to do something that I’ve always felt passionately about and I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a great honour and I don’t take it lightly. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do and I’m really, really happy that I’ve got the opportunity to do it now,” he remarked.

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Ameobi, who was the last Europe-based player to arrive the team’s hotel lodgings at the Intercontinental At Doral in Miami, did not hide his excitement of running out for Nigeria.

“I’m really excited about it and hopefully I can go and meet up with the rest of the guys and see where we go from here. My focus right now is getting through this week and really looking forward to the game next weekend against Swansea.

“You’d be a fool if you didn’t want to play at the very highest level and certainly I’m no fool. I want to play at the top as every other player does – that’s what drives me and that’s why I’m still here wanting to play in the Premier League,” he said.

Meanwhile, Levante of Spain striker Obafemi Martins was the cynosure of all eyes when the Eagles trained at the Miami International Stadium ahead of their international friendly tie against Venezuela yesterday.

“Martins was all over the place in training. He wants to prove he deserves to be part of the team after a long absence,” Ben Alaiya, the Eagles’ Media Officer said early today.

“He has promised to put in his best and see that Venezuela fall to justify his recall and make Nigerians happy. ‘Obagoal’ has netted 18 times in 37 matches for Nigeria. The mood in camp is very high and we expect a good performance on match day,” he said.