By Mumini Alao in Cuiaba:
STEPHEN Keshi has retracted the statement he made about striker Osaze Odemwingie at the post-match conference of the Nigeria-Iran game in Curitiba which ended goalless.
The Super Eagles coach was asked by journalists to comment on Odemwingie’s performance as a substitute. The Stoke striker had impressed lots of observers, but Keshi had responded dismissively that the player “did not play to my instructions.”
The coach’s bristle response fueled speculations that the rift between the duo which had led to the player’s exclusion form the national team for nearly two years had not not been fully resolved.
But when given an opportunity to clarify his statement at another press conference at which Complete Sports was present a day before the Nigeria- Bosnia game in Cuiaba, Keshi seized it to clear the air.
“I mentioned Osaze by name, but I did not mean to single him out (for criticism),” Keshi said.
“I was referring to the whole team not playing to my instruction. I think there was a misunderstanding (of my statement) but the important thing is that all my players including Osaze understood what I was saying.”
Keshi went on to pick Osaze in his starting line-up for the Bosnia- Herzegovina game and the “prodigal son” responded with the only goal of the match.