Everton's Victor Anichebe Puts Nigeria Career On Hold-BBC Sport

Victor Anichebe
By Oluwashina Okeleji -BBC Sport, Lagos

Everton striker Victor Anichebe has put his international career with Nigeria on hold so he can "manage his body accordingly".
Lagos-born Anichebe, 25, has told BBC Sport that for the time being, he does not want to be considered for Nigeria.

He had been tipped for a return to the Nigeria squad for June's World Cup qualifiers and Confederations Cup, replacing the injured Emmanuel Emenike.

"The best thing for me at the moment is to focus on club football," he said.

Anichebe has been plagued by injuries over the past few years, including a groin problem on his last appearance for Nigeria in a 2-0 win over Madagascar in 2011.

He insists he is proud to play for his country, but for the moment his Premier League side Everton are his priority.

"Without club football there is no international football and everyone at Everton was with me every step of the way during my injuries and rehabilitation and so I owe it to the club to manage myself correctly," he explained.

"I didn't feel that the Nigerian federation was there for me then in the same manner, which was especially disappointing given that I got the injury representing my country.

"But I don't blame anyone for this nor do I have any issues with anybody from the NFF or Stephen Keshi our coach.

"He has done a fantastic job and is building a team that Nigerians can be proud of."

A former England youth international, Anichebe switched allegiance and played his first game for Nigeria in March 2008.

He scored on his debut in a 2-0 win over South Africa to help them reach the 2008 Olympics and was then part of the squad that went on to win silver in Beijing.

Despite the recent setbacks and decision to put club over country, Anichebe has no regret to have chosen Nigeria over England.

"A lot of people ask me if I was sad that I wasn't part of the Nations Cup winning team but I couldn't have been happier because it brought so much happiness to Nigerians especially after there has been so much tragedy," he said.

"I know football cannot take away some of the pain it has caused but it was good for the country.

"I am just like the 170 million Nigerians out there, I am a fan obviously as well as a player.

"If I had gone would I be playing for my club at the level I am now? Perhaps not, so it worked out well for both sides.

"The time is just not right for me to resume my international career as of yet but I would certainly love to represent my country in the none-too-distant future."

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This issue has brought up a number of points.

Firstly, NFF needs to show more concern when it comes to welfare of players

Secondly, We need to be prepared at all times. It is sad that we are now running from pillar to pole to find replacement for injured Emenike in a country of rising and shining stars on and off the pitch

Lastly,if the quality and the form of Anichebe is what we are debating now in our football history then we need to do more. Anichebe, with due respect, is not a top quality player for crying out loud.

Victor

Nigeria is not worth dying for. Victor Anichebe took the right decision. The philosophy of the environment he grew up is completely different from ours. We are not our brother's keeper in Nigeria. Did the Former NFA rescue Emeka Ezugo when he had an auto-crash in 1994? No support was given to Nduka Ugbade too when he had an injury. We dont have a good welfare system in Nigeria... My advise for Victor is to keep playing for Everton to earn a living while it lasts cos if you risk your life for Nigeria and you get injured again no one will come to your rescue. Blackman mentality kills.

Good Luck

I have never been in favour of Anichebe playing for naija. He is so prone to injury. He did not play much for his club this season because of injuries. I can't see him playing for naija in future as he is 25 already and younger players are springing up. Besides Nigerian players don't have the luxury of choosing when they want to play for the country which is why the two players that turned down invitations to play in the last Nations Cup were not invited for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers/Confrderations cup. I wish Anichebe the best in his club career.

@ those other Everton players

@ those other Everton players that play for their national teams are well taken care off when they get injured. Nigeria basically abandoned this guy when he got injured representing Nigeria.

Anichebe

We need to take on board what he said about NFF attitude when he got injured. Emenike also said the same thing. It is time our Sport Administrators learn how to care for our Sport Personalities. Regular phone calls, a standby Doctor to get updates on their health, visits and so on goes a long way. The "use them and dump them syndrome" must stop.

My brother Anichebe, I would do the same if I were you.

@ Oti..... He certainly doesn't care to play for Nigeria. It is his personal decision so why not respect it. Other Everton players play for their national teams and they know that if something of the nature as happened to him, did so to them while representing their countries, their countries would "at least" show concern but normally would have their back.. Nigeria is a very irresponsible country. Same happened to a lot of our other players e.g Yekini, the other goal keeper guy and many others... Nigeria is the only country in the world that NEVER EVER learns from it's mistakes... I really admire Victor Moses heart cos if I was that dude I'll be like fcuk Nigeria....At least the Victor Moses thing should make the Ogas at the top think. I don't play football but if in my industry Nigeria needs me tomorrow...After what I went through there while seeking admissions to Unilag to study Engineering...I'll tell Nigeria, "go fcuk yourself".

@oti

Did you read what the guy said? You think he is as stupid and poor as you are? This guy was abandoned by Nigeria when he got injured.

don't play for Nigeria who

don't play for Nigeria who cares??? ask your so called Everton players if they do not play for their National teams... Africans and their stupid mentality.

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