Absence of key players won’t affect Eagles’ spirit in Cameroon, says Udi
Former international, Duke Udi, has said that the absence of key players in the Super Eagles squad will not affect the performance at Cameroon 2022 AFCON.
Victor Osimhen, Paul Onuachu, Oghenekaro Etebo, Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu and Emmanuel Dennis, will not be at the biennial tournament as a result of injuries and the club’s refusal to release the players.
Speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, Udi said that irrespective of the number of key players that the country would be missing at the AFCON that the never-say-die Nigerian spirit would prevail during the competition.
“It is so unfortunate that some of our best legs will not be at this year’s AFCON due to injuries. But I believe that other players invited will make the country proud. There is a Nigerian spirit in the Eagles as long as you are in the team. I believe the players will always carry the country’s flag high, especially at such tournament,” he said, adding that the case of Dennis of Watford FC of England was unacceptable.
“Dennis situation is very pathetic and it is so unfortunate that the AFCON has been rubbished by the so-called European clubs. For a country to be denied its player for the AFCON by these European clubs is disrespectful.
“If you look at the whole scenario on the complaints about the timing of the tournament which the whole is used to, it shows these clubs do not regard us. The tournament is not new because this is not the first time we are organising the AFCON.
“The clubs have always been complaining about the AFCON in the past editions and yet we have been having the African players come to play for their countries during the time of former CAF president, Issa Hayatou.
“I am shocked that at this year’s competition, these clubs would deny some African players coming to represent their countries at the AFCON. During my playing days, they also threatened by trying to stop many of us from playing for our country, but we resisted.
“During Hayatou’s period as CAF’S president, even though we were told to feign injuries, the point is that one will not be able to play for the clubs or even sit on the bench during the period of the AFCON unlike now.
“The fact that Dennis was invited by Nigeria for the AFCON, is enough for him to be freed for the AFCON. Or else, he will not also be allowed to play for the club either. But things have changed now, which is part of the conspiracy we are talking about. At times you ask yourself would they try that with the South Americans football federations or even the UEFA? To me, I this is all double standard in the sport,” he stated.