It seems that Alan Pardew is trying to stop Shola Ameobi from going to the African Cup of Nations next month, and the Newcastle manager issued a statement on Monday to that effect to BBC Sports, but Alan said he would like to keep the reasons to himself.
Shola Ameobi – after scoring great goal last Saturday
It could well be that one of the reasons is that Demba Ba is on his way out next month through that release clause in his contract, but the Nigerian Football federation has since denied they have any knowledge of Alan Pardew’s reasons, and seemingly expect Ameobi to be in South Africa if he is selected in the final squad – which is likely.
And just to add a little more to the already complicated affair, the Nigerian manager Stephen Keshi has today explained why he included Shola in the provisional squad of 32 that he named last week:
“Shola is a very experienced footballer. When he came into the game, he showed us what he can do on and off the ball. Apart from that his knowledge of the game is good and he has the quality of a leader as well, which is what we need all over the pitch in a game.”
Shola came on fairly late in his debut game for Nigeria against Venezuela in Miami, and set up the third goal in injury time to give Nigeria a 3-1 win, and his experience showed against the backdrop of a young Nigerian side late in that game.
If Shola does go to South Africa, and Demba Ba leaves the club, then Newcastle will be very short of experienced strikers, which is one reason the club are trying to get Loic Remy from Marseilles to Tyneside early next month.
It seems a complicated affair now with Shola Ameobi, and should he be selected in the final Nigerian squad it will be interesting to see what Newcastle’s reaction is to his selection.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org