Newcastle top goal scorer Obafemi Martins has been named in Nigeriaâ€™s squad for the African Cup of Nations, as expected.
Nigeria Manager Berti Vogts has insisted that all 31 members of his squad, report for a pre-tournament training camp in Spain from January 4.
Oba Martins – If Nigeria Reach the Final Martins will miss 6 Newcastle games
Vogts is under some pressure to have Nigeria do well in this tournament and in obviously doing all he can to have them fully prepared. If Nigeria do reach the final of this competition, which they have done six times before, Martins will miss six Newcastle games against Stoke City (FA Cup), Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.
Martins is one of eight English based players in Nigeriaâ€™s squad, though there is surprisingly no place for Evertonâ€™s Victor Anichebe. His team-mates Joseph Yobo and Ayegbeni Yakubu are however named alongside Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka (both Portsmouth), John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Dickson Etuhu (Sunderland) and Seyi Olofinjana (Wolves).
Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou (both Chelsea), Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue (both Arsenal), Abdoulaye Meite (Bolton), Emerse Fae (Reading) and Didier Zokora (Tottenham) are in the Ivory Coastâ€™s provisional squad.
With their players missing, it will be interesting to see how these premiership teams fare in the league in January and early February. With four players out we wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sam Allardyce is allowed to draft in at least two defenders, who have Premiership experience. We are also expecting several youngsters to be arriving at the club during the transfer window.
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