Coach Stephen Keshi had called up the 32 year-old defender, who played in the Super Eagles’ 2010 World Cup squad, for final camping in Faro, Portugal, but it was turned down. He also played at the 2008 and 2010 editions of the Afcon in Ghana and Angola.
Nigeria went on to win their third African title with a team of 17 debutants at the tournament.
“Maybe if I were 20 or 21, I would have regrets. But there have been a lot of decisions in my life where it's either turned out good, but I won’t say bad. Even if I had known that Nigeria [would] win the Nations Cup,” Shittu told samumukoro.com.
“At that time, it was the best decision for me to stay. Up till today I still don’t regret making that decision. Obviously players who maybe wouldn’t have played if I was there got to play.
“And who knows, I could have played and we may not have won it. So I always believe that everything happens for a reason.
“A lot of things have happened (in football and out of football) since Nigeria won the tournament, which has made me realize that it was a good reason for me to stay. So I’m happy for the players and the country.”
Shittu chose to stay with his club side in order to help them in their FA Cup campaign as well as in the Championship. He also claims to have stayed behind in order to care for his children.
“I’m a father of four kids and have a lot of personal commitment with family, children, and other things outside of football as well, which wouldn’t have made it right for me to have just left then and gone to the Nations Cup for six weeks.
“Besides, I had not been involved with Nigeria for a long time before that. I was not involved with the qualifications and stuff like that. You know, leading up to this tournament, my life had been kind of different.
“So for me to have left these things all of a sudden to get back to playing with Nigeria again wasn’t right for me to do at that time,” Shittu said.