Shola Ameobi came back to Newcastle after playing for Nigeria in the last International break, but picked up an injury and wasn’t available for Newcastle in any of their games, but he’s back in the Nigerian squad for their next game, which is today in the first leg of their two-legged World Cup qualifying playoff against Ethiopia.
Shola Ameobi – in Nigeria’s colors
What’s wrong with that picture?
Shola has become an International player late in his career, and he is very keen to make the World Cup squad for Brazil next summer, given that Nigeria can qualify, and it would be a good end to Shola’s career.
While the Nigerian born striker was born in Nigeria and played 20 times for England U21 side he was never good enough to be called up and play for the full England side, and he so far has 4 caps for the country of his birth.
Nigeria play their first leg play-off game at Addis Abeba against Ethiopia today, and we would expect Shola to be on the bench, and we expect that Nigeria can qualify, because they have a decent side and are the current African Cup of Nations Champions.
But the fact that Shola was not available to play for Newcastle between the two International breaks will bring comparisons with Michael Owen.
Michael did not have a good time of it in his four years at Newcastle, and he was always injured and he played only 79 times with 30 goals for Newcastle, and in most of those seasons we were playing in Europe too, with all the extra games, so he missed maybe over 65% of the games through injury.
And Michael used to infuriate Geordie fans with some of his interviews in the English press, because he would be out injured, but then say he was hoping to be fit for the next England game.
Michael Owen - while at Newcastle
In the World Cup in Germany in 2006, after being out for the second half of the previous season for Newcastle, he suffered an ACL knee injury in the finals in the game against Sweden, and he was then essentially out for the next season – but hoped to be ready for the England games at the end of that season.
And many pundits thought he suffered his ACL against Sweden because he simply wasn’t fully fit for Germany.
We hope Shola doesn’t come back injured from this International break, but we also think that when Shola’s three-year contract runs out next summer, that could be the end of the road for the 31 year-old – at least at Newcastle.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org