Abuja - Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi, upbeat of his team's chances in the qualifying matches for the Brazil 2014 World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup, sent a warning to some star players whose withdrawal from camp was perceived as a lack of patriotism.
"I am never one to run away from challenges. I have confronted them head-on all my life.
"I have very good relationship with each and every one of my players, with mutual respect and regard being the bedrock of our relationship. The players that we have invited for these matches are patriots," said Keshi.
"We have 16 players here now and team spirit is high. Everyone wants to play. What we will certainly not do is beg anyone to play for Nigeria."
The Super Eagles have experienced several setbacks recently with some of the players opting to stay away for various reasons.
Kalu Uche and Victor Moses withdrew from the team on Monday to join Emmanuel Emenike on the list of players who would not be available.
All three are not available on account of injuries. Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi is also not certain for the matches.
Keshi nonetheless said the late arrival of many of the players was justified.
"Most of the players have just concluded very gruelling seasons and have needed to sort out personal issues, and of course, there are talks to hold ahead of next season.
"These talks have to be done now considering that the players would be away for about seven weeks, on duty for Nigeria," he said.
- CAJ News