Odemwingie takes blame for fallout with Keshi
Odemwingie admitted that he did not adapt properly to the change in management and wrongly interpreted some of Keshi’s decisions as personal.
“Coach Keshi took over and in the first game (against Rwanda) I was subbed quite early, which I’ve never been used to because I always played 90 minutes, both for club and national team,” Osaze told The Guardian UK.
“So I felt: ‘OK, he’s probably not sure about me.’ I thought I should leave the national team for now. It could be that I misjudged the situation, and after watching how he does it … he made a lot of early substitutions during the qualifiers and the African Cup, so then I was like: ‘OK, I shouldn’t have taken it in the way I did.”
After realising his mistake, Odemwingie says he immediately decided to mend fences with the Big Boss, who has since handed him a recall.
“I’m humble enough to admit that, because when the same things happen to other players, then clearly it’s not personal to you. So for me it was then a case of coming to him and saying: ‘Let’s hug it out and move on.’ He was happy to do that.
“The Nigeria team psychologist also played a big part. He came to see me in January, spoke to the coach and explained: ‘Peter’s an honest guy and, most importantly, he’s a good player who can help your team.’ The coach agreed with that and gave me a chance again.”
The 32-year-old confessed that he was disappointed to miss out of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, where Nigeria emerged African champions.
He said: “In the past few years my only regret is that, as I’ve become a better player, I probably would have got more goals for myself and the country but I missed out a bit. I’ve missed a year and a half, missed out on the cup they won, unfortunately.
“I wish I was part of that squad because I’ve played in four Africa Nations and got three bronze medals, never a gold. But I can’t look back. This is another opportunity for me.”