Nigeria coach Keshi to recall Blackburn striker Yakubu

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport, Lagos
Yakubu (right) with Blackburn manager Steve Kean
Yakubu scored twice on Saturday as Blackburn beat Manchester United

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi says he will recall Blackburn striker Yakubu Ayegbeni to the Super Eagles squad.

The 29-year-old has not been called by Nigeria since his horror miss against South Korea at the 2010 World Cup.

But with 12 goals in the Premier League so far this season, Keshi says he is prepared to bring Yakubu back.

"I want the best players in my squad and if the fifth top scorer in England is a Nigerian, then I want him as part of my team." Keshi told BBC Sport.

"Yakubu is in a fantastic form, he is scoring goals and creating them in one of the best leagues in the world.

"If people want to live in the past with that one 'miss' at the World Cup, then football and time is the winner - I don't even remember that anymore.

"How do you blame a man for one mistake when his past and present record shows he is undoubtedly the best we have at the moment.

"If the people in England and Europe respect his performance and we don't - then there is a problem.

"Nothing is automatic with me, I will give him a chance to prove he can deliver like he is presently doing at club level and we'll take it from there."

Yakubu, 29, signed a three-year deal for Blackburn on transfer deadline day in August, ending a nightmare final three years at Everton.

A ruptured Achilles in 2008 put him out of the game for almost a year and he was never able to work his way back into manager David Moyes' plans, ending last season on loan at Leicester.

He made an immediate impact at Rovers, scoring twice on his debut in the 4-3 win against Arsenal, Blackburn's first win of the Premier League season.

The burly striker scored twice on Saturday as Blackburn stunned title holder Manchester United 3-2 to move from the bottom of the table.

Nigeria's first competitive game in 2012 will be a Nations Cup qualifier in Kigali against Rwanda on February

The Super Eagles begin their quest for a place at the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa.

Meanwhile, a locally-based Super Eagles squad will face 2012 African Cup of Nations bound Angola in a friendly at home on 11 January.

According to the spokesman of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ademola Olajire, a venue will be announced soon.

Coach Stephen Keshi told BBC Sport: "I want to give a chance to some of the players in the Nigerian league and this is a big chance for them,"

"I want a blend of foreign and local based players for the new look Super Eagles. Hopefully this will encourage healthy competition.