Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has warned Super Eagles stars that the technical bench will not tolerate late arrivals as the team sets up base in Portugal on January 5 to prepare for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles are in Group C with African champions Zambia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.
“Apart from Ikechukwu Uche, who has been given till January 6 to arrive in the camp, because of the concession his club in Spain gives to the Super Eagles, especially regarding the Catalonia friendly, all other players are expected in the Faro camp of the national team by January 5,” Keshi is quoted by Kickoff Nigeria.
“No, we have no discussion to let some players stay with their club sides beyond January 5 and the rules are very clear, if any player fails to make the date and without permission we will apply the rules.”
There were fears that Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi will join camp late due to a minor knock prompting Keshi’s warning. Mike-Obi’s manager John Shittu has, however, assured that the player will join the Nigeria squad as scheduled.
The midfielder is currently recovering from a minor knock but Shittu says there is no question of the Chelsea star turning up late.
“He has a minor injury, which he is recovering from, but he will be in Portugal by January 5. He has not made any request to report late.”
Only one player is expected to report a day behind schedule, and that is Ike Uche, according to Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi.
Zambia is currently camped in Johannesburg with all but two players already in camp. Europe-based strikers Jacob Mulenga of Utrecht in Holland and Southampton’s Emmanuel Mayuka are still being awaited.
The last players to join the team on Monday were defenders Emmanuel Mbola and Stophilla Sunzu. Sunzu had keep the technical bench waiting due to visa issues for a pending trip to Europe where he is due to sign for a top English club.