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'I admit that I crossed the line' - Nigeria midfielder Ogu makes U-turn on Afcon qualifiers boycott

Nigeria midfielder John Ogu has apologised for calling on his teammates to boycott the double-header 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone in November.

Following the killings of peaceful protesters who were demanding an end to police brutality at the Lekki Toll Plaza last Tuesday, the former Hapoel Beer Sheva star took to social media in outrage.

Ogu who was actively involved in the #EndSARS protest on Lagos' streets, stated that 'politicians should ask their children to represent the Super Eagles in the next upcoming games' which are billed for next month.

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The 32-year-old tendered an apology for his comments on Wednesday and he wants football to continue to unite the country in this crucial period.

He was part of the Nigeria team that won bronze at the 2019 Afcon in Egypt.

"I want to sincerely apologise to Nigerians, the Nigerian Football Federation and the players of the Super Eagles, both past and present and even those dreaming to wear the green and white jersey that I wore with great pride and honour,” the statement read.

“My comments about the Super Eagles boycotting the Afcon qualifiers, was said in the heat of the moment from a place of pain, frustration and anger for the shooting of harmless, flag carrying and national anthem singing Nigerians, at the Lekki toll gate.

“A national anthem and green and white flag that I have sung and carried all my life with joy and pride. I admit that I crossed the lines, by asking players to boycott the Afcon qualifiers. I have honoured all national team invitations with great joy and delight, with a deep desire to be part of a team that give joy to Nigerians and make them happy, football is the strongest unifying force in Nigeria.

“I wish that my comments that were spoken out of anger and pain would not cause more division in our football and even at a time such as this that the nation needs to pull together. Thank you.”

Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles will resume competitive football at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin when they take on Sierra Leone on November 13.

They are scheduled to battle their West African neighbours in a reverse fixture four days later.