Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo has claimed that he will be surprised as everyone if he gets a call from the national team for the upcoming World Cup 2014. Taiwo has been out of the national team reckoning for the last two years now. Despite being one of the established players for the national team, manager Stephen Keshi has been unwilling to call him for the national team. The former AC Milan player has almost given up hope of representing Nigeria once again. The provisional Nigerian squad for the World Cup 2014 will be announced by Keshi next week.
Taiwo says that it is highly unlikely that he will be even in this provisional squad. Since making his debut in 2004, the defender has made more than 50 appearances for the national team. He has represented Nigeria at the World Cup 2010. However, he says that the fact that Nigeria have been incredibly successful in the last few years – by winning the African cup of nations and qualifying comfortably for the World Cup 2014 – makes it difficult for him to get into the squad.
The 28-year-old is currently playing with Turkish outfit Bursaspor, which further limits his opportunities to get into the squad. However, he says that he has still not retired from international action and will always be available.
“I played at the last World Cup, but this one will be very difficult to be a part of. I’ve been out of the set-up for over two years so I am rather pessimistic than optimistic this time around. Without me playing a part, Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations and qualified for the World Cup, so realistically my chances of making it are very slim. I’ve not retired from the national team, so I will always make myself available for selection,” said Taiwo.
Oguchi Onyewu wants to make it into Jurgen Klinsmann 23 man list which the manager will be bringing along with him to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. The former Ac.Milan player stated that he joined Sheffield Wednesday as a way to guarantee himself plenty of playing time with the club and hopefully be taken into consideration by Klinsmann.
The 31 years old defender joined Sheffield Wednesday in January after not being given the chance to perform with QPR.
“Going into the winter market I knew I had to find a situation where I had at least an opportunity to showcase what I could do… If I flopped and fell flat on my face, so be it. But I needed that opportunity,” Onyewu said, in an exclusive interview.
“There were some options on the table, but Stuart Gray, Sheffield Wednesday’s head coach contacted me and expressed his interest in wanting to help out my situation, and wanted me to help out with their situation. I spoke with the U.S. international Stuart Holden about the club, who was on loan to Wednesday last year, and the move ticked every box I think needed to be ticked.”Onyewu said.
Onyewu sustains a close relationship with Klinsmann and this was evidenced when the German coach gave the captain armband to Onyewu during a Gold Cup match against Cuba back in 2013. The problem for the veteran defender is that he is constantly struggling with injury spells which has not allowed him to perform at the level he wants at just about every club he has joined starting from Ac.Milan then moving along to Twente, Malaga, Sporting CP and QPR.
Despite moving from different leagues, different clubs, he still has not managed to make a stand out role anywhere he has been in and Onyewu was a performer in the U.S. national team’s match against Ukraine earlier in March which witnessed the American team suffering a disappointing 2-0 defeat.
It still remains unclear whether or not Onyewu will be representing his country for the 2014 World Cup but the next few weeks will be crucial for the future of the veteran defender.
Last month Thomas Dooley was appointed as the head coach of the Philippines national soccer team and the former USA captain is going to have some busy few months ahead of him as Philippines as to get ready for their Asia Challenge Cup matches which will be played on May.
Dooley and his team will face off against Afghanistan, Laos and Turkmenistan all of which will be played 2 days apart from each other. The 52 years old coach has experience in coaching teams as he already has taken up similar roles in his football career as he was appointed as the assistant coach in the match against Mexico which was back in August of 2011 as well as taking charge of FC Saarbrucken in 2002 and 2003.
All of those past experiences have given him confidence for his new challenges and even though he is not familiar with the Asian football scene, he has assured everyone that he will be ready to prepare his new squad for all of their big tournaments of this year.
Thomas Dooley revealed that he does not have much information about the opponents that Philippines has to face for their Asian Football Confederation Challenge but that he is going to do everything he can in order to prepare his side for whatever they might bring.
“I don’t know a lot of them. We’ll try to get information about them. We’ll call the people I know who know them to get information about them.” Dooley admitted.
The Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup plays an important role not only for Philippines but for all the teams participating in it because the winner will get a ticket which will allow them to play in the 2015 Asian Cup.