Shola Ameobi was included in the Nigerian squad for the home game against Ethiopia today, which was the second leg of the two game tie, after Nigeria won the first leg 2-1 in Addis Ababa last month.
And the game has just finished at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar, and Nigeria won by 2-0 with a penalty from Victor Moses after just 20 minutes, and a goal from substitute Victor Obinna Nsofor after 82 minutes, and that means that Nigeria, the African Cup Champions have won 4-1 on aggregate, and they go to the World Cup Finals in Brazil next year – and there’s a chance that Shola Ameobi can be there as a swan song to his career as a Newcastle United player.
Shola Ameobi in Nigeria’s colors
In January Shola Ameobi had to pull out of the Nigerian squad for the African Cup of Nations, and in fact they went onto win the tournament, but Shola had given his word to his boss Alan Pardew that he would play for Newcastle if Demba Ba left and of course Papiss Cisse was off with Senegal to the African tournament also.
And it seems after that Shola thought his International career, as short as it had been was over, but he wrote a letter to Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi, and it seems that Stephen was understanding, and Shola is back in the Nigerian squad this season.
Shola explained in the Newcastle Journal this morning he though he would never play in a World Cup – but now that seems a possibility:
“It is not something I thought was going to happen. I always thought I would be sat in a bar watching it,” “Everything that did happen I had to explain,” “I basically gave my word when I signed my contract that when Papiss and Demba had to go, that meant I couldn’t.”
“Did I feel the fact I missed the African Nations Cup would cost me the World Cup? Well Newcastle didn’t want me to go. I gave my world about the African Nations and nothing else. I was disappointed not to play in the African Nations Cup but I am a man of my word and I had to stand by what I said. Everything is fine now, life goes on and I am pleased I have this opportunity.”
“I might get a chance to play in it now.” “I know nothing about being at a Championships of that magnitude, and it is refreshing at my age to get that chance. I am experienced enough to know I might not get that chance again. I will be doing everything I can to get there.”
“I was a player who always wanted to play at the highest level.” “That is all I ever wanted to do. I wanted to play international football. When you watch it you want to be involved.” “I thought my chance had gone. When you look at what has happened with Rickie Lambert it is inspiring to know you can never write anything off in football.”
“There are players in squads you never thought would make it who did. In that respect it is very inspiring. It just shows you what hard work can do. It has been great to think the Nigerian coach has recognised what I can bring to the squad.”
Shola turned 32 last month and he has played well in our last two games as he has partnered Loic Remy, with Papiss Cisse being completely out of form at the moment.
And this is Shola’s final year of his contract at Newcastle, as we don’t think his contract will be renewed, although it maybe it could be for say one year.
But Shola has become a big and positive voice in the dressing room, which is why we think at some time in the future Shola will join the Newcastle coaching staff, although he could still play a few more years in football as a player.
And with Nigeria qualifying for Brazil next summer, it would be great if the lad from Walker makes Rio for the World Cup next summer – and today it is one step closer.
Now Shola has to keep playing well for his home town club – Newcastle United.
Ian Begg is a reader who recently found out that his Mom was very ill, and he has to return to Australia. Ian has a Platinum Club season ticket that has £700 left on it, and he is willing to sell it for £550 or a best offer.
Please see if you can help Ian out, and you can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks.
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