Paul Gilder of the Journal is reporting Obafemi Martins has had another bust-up with the Nigerian FA after he failed to appear at the Nigerian training camp before the mandated time by the FA.
This is the second time this year that Martins has not appeared for Nigeria when they were expecting him – and Martins did not inform them ahead of the event that he wasnâ€™t coming.
17 goal Oba Martins
Martins upset the Nigerian FA in February when he failed to show for a friendly at Brantfordâ€™s Griffin Park with Ghana in February. Oba as it happens was bringing his sick mother to Newcastle for treatment by the clubâ€™s medical staff. When spotted in Lagosâ€™ International airport he was booed by the Nigerian fans for not turning up for that game.
Why Oba didnâ€™t just telephone them or send them a telex is not unknown â€“ but thatâ€™s something he may want to consider in the future.
Berti Vogts, the former Scotland manager and German (who seem to be sticklers for rules and regulations) was reportedly furious with Martins because he broke the FIFA five-day rule – which says players must arrive at international camps five days before games. The Newcastle striker was reprimanded but Oba was still selected in the squad for the game against Kenya yesterday in Nairobi.
Nigeria Manager Berti Vogts
Vogts talked about the situation with Martins:
“We organised this match mainly for the England-based players to keep them in shape as their league finished early,” “Martins hasn’t played football for two or three weeks. But he isn’t here. Can you in the Press ask him why he has been in Lagos and hasn’t reported to camp?
We know that the Fifa rule says players should be in camp five days before a match. This is a player who has been released by his club, but he has been in Lagos when he should have been here (in Nairobi).”
As it happens the Super Eagles (Nigeria) beat Kenyaâ€™s Harambee Stars 1-0 in an African Nations Cup warm-up on Sunday â€“ in front of an estimated 35,000 spectators, one of the highest soccer turnouts there since 1997. Nigeria now takes on Uganda in Kampala in a Group 3 game next week.
Martins of course also went missing for our last game of the season – against Watford – which is still a mystery to the fans as to what exactly happened.
Man Manager Supreme – Sam Allardyce
The good news from the Newcastle viewpoint is that man-manager supreme – Sam Allardyce – has already cleared up the Watford problem. Talking about this event a United insider spoke to Paul Gilder of the Journal and said:
“Oba has already sat down with Sam and cleared up what happened at Watford and it is no longer an issue.
“The manager has already stated he wants him to be part of his plans.”
This is really good news for Newcastle â€“ because Martins can be a big hit for us next year â€“ anybody who can score 17 goals in a fairly poor side in his first season in the Premiership at 22 years old â€“ must be a good prospect.
Letâ€™s hope Sam can guide Martins along â€“ as he has done with so many young players at Bolton â€“ and not only clear up Martins AWOL problem (because he cannot keep doing this) but also because thereâ€™s no reason why Martins – in a better side next season â€“ cannot score 25 goals for us.
That’s the bottom line – and then we’ll not have to be so focussed on Michael Owen.
Comments always welcome.