Nigeria warn Newcastle United over preventing Ameobi from playing at 2013 AFCON
Nigeria have warned Newcastle United that they will report them to FIFA if they prevent striker Shola Ameobi from playing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The former England under-21 international had been named by coach Stephen Keshi in his provisional squad for the tournament in South Africa.
Newcastle coach Alan Pardew has ruled out the 31-year-old’s appearance at the tournament, which kicks off on 19 January saying Nigeria are aware.
But the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) debunked the claim by Newcastle boss insisting they will do whatever they can to get the player released for the tournament.
“We are not aware of such a thing about Shola (Ameobi). He is a FIFA-listed player for us. The federation is not aware, the head coach is not aware of this and that was why Shola was called up for the competition,” said NFF’s spokesman, Ademola Olajire.
“We will do all within our power to see that Shola or any player picked by the coach for the Nations Cup is released to us.”
Ameobi was born in Zaria, northern Nigeria, before moving to England with his parents at the age of five.
Under Fifa rules, players who have represented one country at junior level can play for another at senior level if they meet the qualifying criteria.
Ameobi was first called-up by the Super Eagles 10 years ago but turned down the invitation on the grounds that his heart was set on playing for England.
He was cleared by Fifa to play for the country of his birth last month.
He made his debut in a 3-1 friendly win over Venezuela last month, setting up the third goal in Miami, Florida.
Nigeria will take on African champions Zambia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso in Group C.