Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi decided not to pick Villarreal striker Ikechukwu Uche for the upcoming World Cup 2014. The 30-year-old has been in fine form for the Spanish outfit this season. He has scored 12 goals in the league. After not featuring for the Nigerian national team since the African cup of nations last year, it seems that his international career is over as far as Keshi is concerned. The striker does not feature in the preliminary squad announced by the African nation. Nigeria will be expecting a tough World Cup after being grouped alongside Argentina.
Argentina will clearly be the favourites to win the group, but the second spot is up for grabs. Nigeria will be competing along with Iran and Bosnia for this final qualification position. Despite missing out on the squad for the World Cup, the 30-year-old has stated that he does not have any regrets and anger against manager Keshi. He says that he will be supporting his teammates despite not being on the plane to Brazil. The manager has come under criticism for not taking Uche, but he has responded by saying that the media should focus upon the team rather than individuals.
Nigeria begin their World Cup campaign against Iran.
“We spoke two weeks before the squad was announced to clarify certain things that had been written and said in the media. Most significantly, it was a very good discussion. It gives me great pleasure that there is no ill will towards anyone. I thank the coach for that. I also wish my teammates all the best in Brazil because we are all one family whether you are in the squad or not,” said the 30-year-old striker.
He is one of the most experienced players available at the disposal of Keshi with more than 45 international appearances.