Nigeria news

Ameobi in running for Nigeria spot

October 16, 2012
By Kristan Heneage

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has confirmed that he is monitoring Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi ahead of the African Nations Cup in January.

Shola Ameobi
PA PhotosShola Ameobi is Newcastle's longest serving player

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Ameobi, 31, was born in Zaria but moved to England when he was five years old. He was spotted by Magpies scouts while playing at Walker Central Boys Club and made his first team debut in 2000 against Chelsea.

"Shola is a good striker and he has a chance to be on the plane to South Africa," Keshi said. Despite representing England at youth level, Ameobi declared his interest in playing for the country of his birth in 2009.

That led to a call-up for the Super Eagles in January 2011, but a broken cheekbone forced him to withdraw from the squad, delaying his debut.

In November, FIFA confirmed that Ameobi had been cleared to represent Nigeria at international level - with coach Keshi believing the striker would bring something unique to Nigeria's squad.

"I've been watching him closely and he's got something unique. He will definitely bring something different to the attack," he said.

"I have Shola and (Everton striker) Victor Anichebe in my striking plans."