Stoke City inform strik-er, Peter Osaze Odemwingie has said it was up to coach Stephen Keshi to include him in his World Cup plan after he claimed to have made up with the coach.
The pair fell out after Odemwingie was omitted from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad and took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
“I have been speaking with the coach, it’s the only right thing to do. “I had to be humble and make a step forward towards my senior colleagues,” added the 32-year-old.
Odemwingie was upset to be overlooked for the tournament in South Africa and at the time he claimed he was dropped because he often speaks his mind. He also accused Keshi of disrespecting him because he the coach did not inform him personally of the decision.
Keshi responded by saying “it was nothing personal “ and 16 months on Odemwingie appears to have come to terms with what happened.
“You can’t continue to stay in that angry state of mind. Staying in that state, it’s not the right thing to do. It’s never helpful for anyone,” Odemwingie said. “It was very disappointing at the time, it was hard to accept it.
I had a strong feeling that it was Nigeria’s time to win it. I was as frustrated as any other player.” Odemwingie was proved right in his instinct that Nigeria’s time had come again – they won the trophy for a third time – and he still sounds regretful when he reflects on the past.
“I thought we could win it; Cameroon and Egypt were not there, Ghana were struggling and a few players were missing so I felt it was our chance. But I didn’t make the squad,” he said.
“And it would have been the tournament that I would have got scored goals than before, because I had moved to the Premier League and improved as a player – especially in front of goal.” Despite his sense that he missed out on a golden opportunity, Odemwingie now seems ready to let the bad feelings go and he is generous in his praise of the players who took Nigeria to the title.
“I’m very happy that we won it in the end because many names that had not been in the frame for the squad for the past 10 years were there and they helped the team lift the trophy,” he said. Odemwingie last played for Nigeria in February 2012 – a goalless draw with Rwanda in a Nations Cup qualifier He also feels it went some way to making up for, what he feels, had been an underachieving generation.
“When we talk about the generation that just passed, we wish we won more for Nigeria. We won silver at the 2008 Olympics, it’s good but it’s not gold. We won three bronze medals in the Nations Cup, which was still good but the frustrations were there,” he said.