Filed in Sports by on December 30, 2011

Security scare, as strange players invade Eagles’ training session
Friday, 30 December 2011

OFFICIALS of the Super Eagles have raised the alarm over the spate of incidents involving strange players, who find their way into the team’s camp without invitation.

On Monday, one of such “players” found his way to the Eagles’ training session, demanding to be given a chance to prove that he could play for Nigeria. Though the officials found nothing wrong in a Nigerian volunteering to play for his country, they are worried that the way these strange people found their way into the team’s base without let gave room for concern.

During yesterday morning’s training of home-based Super Eagles at the pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, another of the “unknown players” came from the blues, pleading to be allowed to train with the national team.

Narrating yesterday’s incident, Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, said: “Unlike the first ‘player,’ who said he came all the way from Uyo to fight for jersey in the national team, yesterday’s ‘star,’ who said he came from Maraba in the Federal Capital, claimed he was a former player of Kwara United of Ilorin, flaunting a fake ID card of the club, saying a certain coach Gbenga asked him to come and meet Eagles’ boss, Stephen Keshi, for training and inclusion in the national team.

“Team Security head, ACP Gideon Akinsola, Psychologist, Dr. Robinson Okosun, and Secretary, Dayo Enebi, then set out to drill the ‘player,’ who sounded more like a lunatic. He even came with a travelling bag loaded with all manner of things except training kits.

“He gave his name as Collins Kolade, and that he was born in 1984 and was 25 years old; that he plays from the wings (No.7, he emphasised) for Kwara United and that the spirit asked him to come to camp, adding that he was sure he would follow the team to the hotel after training.”

According to Alaiya, when the player was asked the number of years he played for Kwara United, he said it was between 2007 and 2009. Alaiya said: “On what he has been doing since 2009, his sharp reaction was, ‘I am nowhere to be found,’ which sent the ‘interview’ panel reeling with laughter.”

Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, said that up to eight of the home-based players in the Abuja camp could make the final team for the 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda on February 29. Before now, Keshi had said he would like to take a maximum of five players and a minimum of three to the battle of Kigali.

But after yesterday’s training, he told the players that he would take a minimum of eight and a maximum of 10 of them to Rwanda for the qualifiers. Keshi is apparently taking positives from the way the players played against Ranchers Bees of Kaduna on Wednesday and an Abuja Selected side the day before.

“This is the only job we know how to do and we must do it very well and show that we are a class above Rwanda,” he said. “I want to go there with players who can help me pick the three points and I believe those players are here, but you must prove it in training and during friendly games.”

According to him, the team will play more friendly games before the match against Rwanda, and in the first week of January, it will meet Lobi Stars of Makurdi and Rising Stars of Akure in quick succession.

Team Secretary, Enebi, was busy working out the schedule of the games yesterday, even as more players have been craving for action in the national team going by the deluge of requests on Keshi’s table daily.


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