Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike unhappy with Keshi criticism

Emmanuel Emenike
Emmanuel Emenike

Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike believes caretaker coach Stephen Keshi broke one of his own rules when he criticised the striker in an interview in the local media.

Keshi has been quoted as saying he is unhappy with the Fenerbahce striker, who he dropped to the bench in last month's 2015 Africa Cup of Nations shock defeat to Congo in Calabar.

The coach criticised Emenike for only arriving on the eve of the game and not showing him and his teammates enough respect.

But the 2013 Nations Cup top-scorer has spoken out about his manager's comments, and believes he made a mistake.

"There are certain things you'd not expect from your coach," Emenike told BBC Sport.

"If there's any problem, as a player you only want to find out directly from him and not in the media, it's something he taught us.

"I feel honoured playing for Nigeria and I respect the coach like my own father. I give my all to the team because we are like one big family any time we all come together.

"But for him to say I am creating a problem in the team and my teammates are unhappy with me is sad and unacceptable.

"It's like sending a wrong message to the fans, but if the coach feels my invitation will not bring the needed results or peace in the team, he can leave me out."

It is not the first time both player and manager have clashed in the media, as they were involved in a public spat in March 2013.

Emenike criticised Keshi for ignoring and abandoning him when he suffered a long-term hamstring injury during the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

The 27-year-old has been included in the Nigeria squad for this month's Africa Cup of Nations double-header against Sudan and it is unclear whether Emenike will refuse to join up with the Super Eagles.

Stephen Keshi has refused to make any comment on the latest incident involving his star striker and will wait until his players turn up for international duty before deciding on any action.

Keshi, who led Nigeria to their third African title in 2013 and the last 16 in Brazil, must lead his side to a recovery after their poor start to qualifying for next year's tournament in Morocco.

Following a defeat by Congo and a draw with South Africa, the Super Eagles are third in Group A, with only the top two teams guaranteed a place at the finals.

It places extra pressure on the African champions to win their match away to Sudan, which will take place on 11 October, and the return fixture four days later in Abuja.

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