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Nations Cup: Newcastle contract rules Ameobi out

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew finally won the debate over Shola Ameobi’s availability for the 2013 Africa Nations Cup as the Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi on Wednesday admitted that a clause in the player’s contract with his club stops him from playing in the competition.

Keshi who spoke in Abuja said that he discussed with the striker on Christmas day and was told by Ameobi that two years ago he signed his contract with a clause that says he cannot go to the Africa Nations Cup without the manager’s permission.

He said, “And to make matters worse Newcastle fear that Senegalese Demba Ba will be leaving the club by the January transfer window and they need a strong strike force and with Ameobi being their most experienced player in that area. We may lose him. But he has said he will talk to me late on Boxing Day and after that I will let Nigerians know what the position is. He wants to discuss the issue with his manager, (Pardew).”

Pardew who was so sure of his facts had said on Monday that Ameobi will not be going with the Eagles to South Africa. He based his conviction on something he claimed the national coach knew about.

He said, “Shola won’t be going. The national team manager knows the reasons, which I am keeping to myself.”

Eagles will depart for Faro, Portugal on Thursday through Accra, Ghana, to begin the final phase of its camping for the Nations Cup. But Ameobi may not be the only player who may not be going to South Africa.

Warri Wolves new acquisition, Chibuzor Okonkwo, has also missed out as he does not have a valid visa for the trip and which may take nearly two weeks to secure.

“By that time we will already be rounding off our training, that is why we may have to leave him behind,” Keshi said.

But it was good tidings for Kano Pillars’ Papa Idris and Enyimba’s Henry Uche who have been offered opportunity to hustle for shirts in the Faro camp and would be travelling with the team. The players who were not in the first list but proved themselves excellent in training despite the fact that the list of home based players for the camp had already been released.

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