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Nov, 5, 2012

Odemwingie denies Nigeria feud

Peter Odemwingie has denied claims by Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi that he has refused to play international football for the Super Eagles.

The West Bromwich Albion striker is disappointed over suggestions that he has turned his back on his country, following comments made by Keshi over the weekend.

Odemwingie insists he remains willing to play for Nigeria, despite admitting to communication problems and some lingering issues which date back to the 2010 World Cup. He confirmed he has spoken with Keshi and remains available for selection.

"I did not say I won't play for the national team. I am 31 now, it will be hard to play every game, but I had an open and honest discussion with the coach and I will be available when they call me," he told KickOffNigeria.com.

"If the coach decides to call me, I am still available to play for my country. When I decide I want to stop playing I will come out and say so myself."

Keshi told reporters over the weekend that Odemwingie had turned his back on his country because of incidents dating back to his omission from the 2010 World Cup finals.

"I spoke to (Odemwingie) before the Liberia game and he told me that he had decided not to play for Nigeria anymore," Keshi told SuperSport.com.

"He told me that he has no problems with me as a person and that he took his decision even before I assumed position as national team coach. He said he was unhappy at how he was treated in the past in the national team. He explained that prior to Nigeria's participation at the 2010 Fifa World Cup, he played in all the qualifying games but was dropped at the finals."

Odemwingie admits to voicing his disappointment at issues within the Nigeria set-up and said: "I told him about my unhappiness with certain things, including the fact that as a player who has served his country with full commitment for over 10 years, I got into trouble for asking to be excused from a friendly game when I had an injury.

"And I pointed out to him that it appeared the same trend was continuing under him during the game in Rwanda because of the way I was treated. So since I didn't want to be seen to be destabilising the national team, I decided to stay away. We agreed that it was a communication issue and we would continue to talk and that was it."

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