Onigbinde loves Keshi's Afcon birds
Former head coach of the Nigerian national team, Adegboye Onigbinde has voiced his sentiments following the release of the nation’s provisional squad for the 2013 Afcon in South Africa.
Head coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi released a list of 14 players from the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) and 18 overseas players for the tournament following a meeting with the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Friday.
Several big names like Kalu Uche, Osaze Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins and Yakubu Aiyegbeni were missing from the provisional squad but Onigbinde who managed the national team to the 2002 Fifa World Cup has backed Keshi over his choice of players for the Acfon.
“Anyone who does not have possession of the tactics, pattern and strategy of Keshi does not have the justification to criticise him over this list,” Onigbinde told supersport.com
Onigbinde, who also coached the Nigerian team between 1983 and 1984, also took the time to react to speculation that Keshi may have been influenced over including certain players in the squad at the expense of others.
“Even at club level, coaches face this kind of pressure so you can imagine the kind of pressure they will face at international level.
“When I was coach of Shooting stars, I had a list of ‘political players’ but when they proved themselves, I drafted them into the main side. If they didn’t, they never played.
“Yes, there are pressures as a coach but it is left to the coach to decide how best to deal with such pressures,” Onigbinde said.
The 70-year-old, who is also a member of the NFF’s technical committee, revealed that he was invited for the meeting with Keshi before the list was made public but he declined to attend.
“I was invited but I refused to attend the meeting because two months ago, they (NFF technical committee) had a meeting but they decided not to invite me. They gave no explanations so I decided they no longer wanted me as part of the committee,” he said.