Three Heartland players among six sent packing from Nigeria camp

The national team coach has trimmed the number of league players from his squad in preparation for the arrival of the 11 Europe-based players

Three players from Nigeria Premier League side Heartland of Owerri are amongst the six players that were decamped in Abuja as Stephen Keshi gets set to name his final squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification game against Rwanda on Wednesday in Kigali.

The Heartland players are Uche Oguchi, Kingsley Salami and Kabir Umar. They are joined by Henry Uche of Enyimba, Osasco Omomo of Sunshine Stars and Niger Tornadoes’ Daniel Essien.

These six have been declared surplus to requirement in the national team and have thus been released from the national camp for their various clubs ahead of Nigeria Premier League (NPL) matches this weekend.

Despite being dropped from the team, Keshi told the released players that may be recalled for the two upcoming friendly matches being planned by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in April.

“It was a painful decision, but it must be done for the sake of the nation and because we have our brothers coming from Europe,” said Keshi to reporters.

“It’s not to say the players are not good, they are very okay and we’ll call upon them soon again when we have friendlies lined up for the national team.”

Keshi also added that he will continue to monitor the axed players for discipline and consistency of their performances with their club sides and that will be the basis for any recall to the national team.

Goalkeeper and captain of the Eagles during their friendly match against Liberia in Monrovia, Chigozie Agbim leads the 16 players left in camp. These 16 will continue to battle for positions in the team that will travel to Rwanda this coming week.