By Shemmy Sholabomi
Goal has discovered that the non-inclusion of experienced players in the 38-man provisional list submitted by coach Stephen Keshi to the Nigeria Football Federation last week is the reason behind the delay in its announcement.
It has been learnt that the Technical Committee rejected the list due to the absence of the trio of Peter Odemwingie, Joseph Yobo and Chinedu Obasi.
Keshi was then told to make "more consultations" before submitting the final list.
Goal gathered from a top source that members of the Technical Committee were unhappy with Keshi's decision to leave out Odemwingie, Obasi and Yobo, an action that attracted strong reactions.
"We were shocked to discover that despite the fact that Keshi submitted close to a 40-man list he still left out quality players like Osaze Odemwingie, Chinedu Obasi and captain of the team Joseph Yobo, players we all know are doing very well with their various clubs," the source told Goal.
"In as much as he defended the list vehemently and gave reasons for leaving them out which include injury claims, technical reasons and fitness issue, we told him that we are not really convinced with these reasons and that in as much as he - as the coach has the final say on this issue - we let him realise the fact that this is a World Cup and Mr President [Goodluck Jonathan] is watching with keen interest our preparations and has great expectation from the team to do well in Brazil.
"So we need to ensure things are properly done most especially as regards the players that are actors that will execute the matches at the World Cup," the source revealed.
This latest information is contrary to rumours in the media [not Goal] that had claimed the inclusion of Odemwingie and Yobo in the squad last week.
It was what prompted Keshi and Technical Committee member Paul Bassey to caution reporters about writing falsehood.
"I am worried about the list I have been reading on the pages of newspapers. I did not make that list and I am not happy that you guys are reporting this to mislead people," Keshi said after last week's meeting with the Technical Committee.
Bassey also said: "We looked at the media, most especially the confusing list published, and we are using this opportunity to plead with the media to wait for the authentic list of the players to be released by the Football Federation before it is published."
This revelation from the NFF source shows how baffled they were as to why Keshi omitted in-form Odemwingie considering the fact that the coach said he has spoken to the player and they have buried the hatchet after their public falling out in 2012. They also considered his present form at Stoke City where he has scored five goals since his move in January.
The non-inclusion of captain Yobo also goes against the grain as the defender was called up to the friendly against Mexico in March but missed out due to injury. What that invitation meant was that Keshi had forgiven his captain and agreed to move on but the non-inclusion of his name in the provisional World Cup squad rankled the Technical Committee.
In the case of Chinedu Obasi, the Technical Committee took into consideration the return to form of the winger and how he could bring strength to the Eagles forward line. They wondered why Keshi would not call up a player who has lots of experience and who is in good form presently.
It is not yet known when the provisional list will be released to the public as Keshi is expected to make more consultations.
"We have decided to shelve the release of the list to give [Keshi] some time for more consultations. First of all we are not in a hurry [to release] the list. No country going to the World Cup has released their team list. We have given him one week or two to make consultations," Bassey said last week.
The waiting game continues.