Kevin Keegan will soon get to meet Oba Martins, as the Nigerian prepares to come home from the African Cup of Nations.
Oba Martins – on his way back to meet Keegan
Martins is well known in African football but missed Nigeriaâ€™s last two games after not performing all that well in their first couple of games, in the African Cup of Nations. Itâ€™s a disappointing result for Nigeria, being eliminated as they were in group play, and it remains to be seen if their German manager Berti Vogts will keep his job.
Martins still leads Newcastleâ€™s goal-scoring charts, although Michael Owen is now closing in and now has 6 goals to Obaâ€™s 7 goals.
The former Inter Milan star seemed to like playing under Big Sam, at least at first, but then when he was played out right in that awful 4-3-3 formation, we think he may have privately soured on playing out there. But who can blame him?
He did rather surprisingly criticize his former manager, when Sam Allardyce was replaced by Keegan early last month. Oba says Sam didnâ€™t talk to him much, but that will not happen under Keegan. However, weâ€™re not sure how many games Oba will get with Kevin, since he has supported Michael Owen to the hilt, and even made him Newcastleâ€™s new captain. But Keegan may even play Oba up front with Michael – we’ll just have to wait and see.
Martins talked to the Newcastle Journal today:
â€œI cannot say I have good memories of Allardyceâ€™s time,â€ â€œI definitely think he should have played me more. Will it be good to have a fresh start?â€
â€œIf something is not right you must change it. I donâ€™t know why he never picked me, but he never said anything to me. I believe Kevin Keegan can help my game.â€
We’ll have to see how Keegan handles Oba, but it will be important to keep the 23 year-old happy at the club, because we think he has lots of football development still left in him, and when he’s achieved that, he should be a frightening player to the opposition.
And it’s his speed that will interest Keegan, as he works through the squad he has inherited from Big Sam, to see what each player can offer the team. Kevin must have been just a little disappointed with the displays of Smith and Ameobi up front so far, and we wonder if the two of them are good enough to remain at Newcastle. We think not, but expect Oba to get much better as time goes on.
What do you think?