As we expected, things are heating up over Shola Ameobi’s availability for the African Cup of Nations next month – after Alan Pardew said he would not be going to South Africa for the tournament.
Shola Ameobi - battle going over this player
The latest news is that the Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi spoke to the player last night, and apparently there is a clause in Shola’s contract which complicates things.
This is what Keshi told MTNFootball:
“I spoke with Shola Ameobi last night and he said his coach did not speak with him even before going to the press.” “But apparently, there is a clause he signed in his contract two years ago that he would not dump the team for the Nations Cup. And that is what his coach is holding on to right now.”
“But Shola has said he would speak with the coach after their game today (Wednesday) against Manchester United and get back to me.” “I must confess that with this latest revelation from Shola we are in a tight corner more so that the club is uncertain of the future of Demba Ba.”
Nigeria Football Federation board member Chris Green says that Nigeria will take all the steps they can to ensure that Shola Ameobi is in South Africa next month, and Green had this to say to the BBC:
“These clubs are not only disrespecting Nigeria but FIFA and CAF (Confederation of African Football) as well.” “The rules are clear on international games approved by FIFA so we consider these comments (by Newcastle and Millwall) as not only ridiculous but totally disrespectful.
“We know the rules. FIFA has made it clear that these clubs will not be able to use these players for the duration of the Nations Cup plus an additional five days.
“We will further push for additional sanctions – we understand these clubs employ our players but they are also international footballers. Rules are rules. Newcastle and Millwall must understand the basics why they exist.”
Milwall is mentioned there because Danny Shittu’s club are also resisting their player participating in the tournament.
On Newcastle’s side of things the AFCON takes place every two years, and because they have changed from an even year to odd years – this is the third AFCON in four years, and the second in successive years.
Given that the tournament comes right in the middle of the European football season, this is a terrible thing for clubs to have to manage for.
That’s the case for all European clubs with top African players and the least the African Nations should do is to have this tournament only every four years – as happens with the European Championships.
But Newcastle are unlikely to win this one.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org