Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Nigeria's Abia State and presidential candidate, has made a passionate plea to national-team coach Stephen Keshi to recall out-of-favour striker Ikechukwu Uche for World Cup 2014.
The 30-year-old was named in the provisional 30-man squad for the tournament but was omitted despite scoring 12 goals for Villarreal in La Liga this season.
Uche has not played since February 2013 when he last featured for the Super Eagles in the Africa Cup of Nations final, where he finished the competition with three goals.
"As a passionate football fan, I appeal to my good friend Keshi to have a change of mind and include Uche in his World Cup team," Kalu told the press.
"The boy should be forgiven since he is now remorseful."
Kalu, who sponsored Enyimba of Aba to emerge CAF Champions League Champions twice, praised the former Togo and Mali coach for recalling the duo of Joseph Yobo and Osaze Odemwingie and prayed that Uche would also get a reprieve.
"Football is a competitive game, we should not allow personal interest to override national aspirations," he declared. "I salute Keshi for bringing back Yobo and Osaze. I wish he could extend the same to Uche."