27th November, 2013
After playing a starring role in Cardiff City’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United on Sunday, striker Osaze Odemwingie has now revealed his World Cup ambitions.
Osaze has underlined ambition to join Cardiff City team-mates Gary Medel and Kim Bo-Kyung at the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer.
The Bluebirds striker has earned 55 caps for Nigeria, but hasn’t been involved for his country since the Africa Cup of nations last year.
But the Super Eagles clinched their spot in Brazil last week with a 4-1 aggregate play-off triumph against Ethiopia, and now Osaze admits he is dreaming of getting another chance at international level.
“I was in Nigeria’s squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa and I would love the chance to go again,” the former West Brom striker told www.walesonline.co.uk.
Osaze, though, is adamant that if he produces his best form for Cardiff in the Premier League there is a real chance he will be recalled by Nigeria and take his place in their squad next summer.
“Why not?” said Osaze after Cardiff’s 2-2 draw against Manchester United. “Certainly, I believe there is a chance. If it comes I would be delighted.
“I haven’t been selected recently because the new coach wanted changes in the team.
“First of all it affected the older players so the situation wasn’t so friendly, but he has made it clear that any player who is active and eligible had a chance for Nigeria for the World Cup finals so we will see.
“Playing for my country in Brazil would mean so much. I was in South Africa with Nigeria during 2010 and it was a great event. Brazil is maybe even more popular football-wise so it would be great to be part of that if it happens.”
Osaze knows he will have to play at his best for Cardiff to force his way back into Coach Stephen Keshi’s squad, but he has the chance to shine in televised Premier League matches and this Saturday he looks certain to start against Arsenal at home.
“Playing Premier League football can only help me,” said Osaze. “No player will be in the squad unless they do well for their club.
“Playing for Cardiff City is the most important factor for me right now. Even before you talk about the national team it’s important to be playing well for your club side and that, for me, is the priority.”
Osaze, Cardiff’s £2.2m signing from the Baggies on transfer deadline day in September, chose to play for Nigeria, where his father was born, even though he was born in Uzbekistan to a Russian mother.
He made his debut as a substitute during Nigeria’s 3-0 win against Kenya during 2002 and went on to play in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 when they edged out by Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.
Osaze, an Olympic silver medalist with Nigeria in Beijing, was again in the team for the same tournament two years later, while he was captain in 2010 when Nigeria again went out in the last four. He was named in the Best XI of the tournament.
Now, though, he is keen to show he is worthy of a recall by consistently finding his best form for Cardiff. They are 15th in the table with 13 points from 12 games and following this weekend’s home clash with Arsenal by travelling to play Stoke City, in midweek, and Crystal Palace.
Osaze will certainly be looking to impress during December as Keshi works towards his final squad for Brazil.