Oba Martins Warned Again By Nigerian Coach

Oba Martins has a more than unsteady relationship with his national team Nigeria.


Oba Martins – played just 21 times for his country, Nigeria

In yesterday’s papers there were reports that new Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu, is somewhat wary of Martins, and his regular withdrawals from Nigeria’s squad with injury.

The Newcastle United striker, who has scored 20 goals for the Tyneside club over the last 2 seasons, some of them absolute corkers,  has been warned about the future of his international career by his national coach.

Amodu has hinted that he has doubts about the player’s recent withdrawals from his squad through injury:

“We have to be careful about the issue of Martins because he is a good player even though no one is indispensable,”

“However, we cannot force anyone to play for Nigeria, rather we prefer to work with willing players. He called me to say he was injured.”

“I insisted he should still join us for our friendly in Austria in May but he did not comply.”

“I want to take him at his word but at the same time, I’m watching him.”

Amodu has also suggested that preserving team spirit would be as important a factor as ability, in his future team selections, as he continued:

“We inherited a team that was in tatters, a team that needed to regain their confidence,”

“We have achieved some results but we are not there yet. We are making progress.”

“I have been satisfied with the conduct of the players as well as their commitment.”

It turns out that Martins has missed Nigeria’s last four World Cup qualifying matches, due to an ankle injury, and Amodu seems suspicious about the extent of the problem.

However, from Newcastle’s perspective, having players regularly traveling to different places in the world to play international matches does nothing to improve the physical well-being of our players, and of course they can also be injured in the process.

If they are injured in the least, lots of traveling does nothing to improve the situation, and we’d rather he not even travel to the venues, given that he will not be playing, in any case.

Nigeria are currently at the top of their World Cup qualifying group with wins over South Africa, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea – all achieved without Martins.

Martins has played just 21 times for his country, scoring 13 goals.

He has already threatened to quit international football, when in 2006 an administrative error (African countries seem fraught with these) on the Nigerian FA’s website listed his age as 28, not 21, and endangered Martins’ proposed move to Newcastle United.

The new European Club Association – ECA – on which Newcastle United is one of 5 English clubs representing English interests (along with the top 4 of Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool) have already been successful in getting proposals approved that will help the situation with players traveling too much for friendly internationals.

The ECA has won some important concessions for European clubs in the continuing conflict with the demands made by international football:

  1. International matches will eventually be switched from Wednesday to Tuesday, which will allow players to return to their club teams earlier, and be ready for the following weekend game.
  2. International players based in Europe will not have to take part in more than one friendly game for their country, when those games are played on other continents.
  3. The ECA has forced UEFA to pay clubs whose players appear in a European Championship or World Cup.

The first two will, at least, have an impact on Oba Martins and indeed on our other three Africans at Newcastle, Mark Viduka and new boy – Argentine International, Jonas Gutierrez.

We probably should be more concerned about Martins missing games for Nigeria, but because Newcastle pays his wages we’re not too bothered by all of this, to be truthful.

Comments welcome.

10 comments so far

  • Leo

    Jul 14, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #1

    they do like a whing dont they nigeria, he doesnt want to play international football, why should he?

  • Spyro

    Jul 14, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #2

    Leo there is nothing wrong with what Nigeria are doing here, they are just sending out a warning to Martins that he will be dropped if he keeps on

  • Davies

    Jul 14, 2008 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #3

    It’s one of those things I suppose. English footballer’s give their all to get a crack at playing for England, and I just expected that it would be the same for every nationality.

    Martins has already said that he is proud to be Nigerian and proud to play for his country. It just seems odd that he unable to play through injury, or whatever else, so often.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the lad and hope he stays with us for years. Also, I prefer that he doesn’t go off to the internationals that often for two reasons; the risk of injury, and the amount he is missed by Newcastle when he’s not available. When we were missing our four African players in January, it had a significant effect on the team.

    Maybe that’s the way Oba sees it, or, maybe he has been genuinely unable to play for them. Whichever, it works out best for us.

  • Bob

    Jul 14, 2008 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #4

    Wasn’t Martins’ car shot at while he was in Nigeria last year?

    That may be why he is not so keen to play for them.

  • HonoraryGeordie

    Jul 14, 2008 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #5

    Yeh Martins was part of one of the worlds scariest assassination attempts! Whilst in Nigeria he was driven off the road by big SUV’s, masked gunmen circled his car and shot nearly 100 bullets into his car, he claimed it was a near death experience…then he woke up!

  • Spyro

    Jul 14, 2008 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #6

    lol @ honorarygeordie

  • Yahya Ahmad

    Jul 14, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #7

    I dont blame if after the incident! What if the same happens and he really gets shot or dies! Then the Nigeria coach will have a guilty conscience! You cant force someone to play international football!

  • clinta

    Jul 14, 2008 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #8

    Yeah i heard that story about martin in nigeria, but then I also heard after that it was his car, but a mate was driving and he was nowhere near the incident?

    but hey that was in the paper so probably bollock? maybe he was shot at? or maybe he’s never even been to nigeria?

    I know we’ll get him to point at it on a map!

  • Terry

    Jul 14, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #9

    Hasn’t Joseph Yobo’s brother been kidnapped recently too because they know they can get a huge ransom out of him? Who can blame some of these guys for not wanting to go back, European football is an escape for them and some of them may genuinely not be that proud of where they come from.

  • oga

    Jul 14, 2008 at 7:00 PM

    Comment #10

    The Nigerian FA is a hot mess. I wouldn’t be look forward to playing under such a disorganised hierarchy either. Its such a shame, because with all the talent in the country, it could have become the first African football superpower.


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