Cole's call-up for Nigeria set to be blocked

August 5, 2008

Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu appears to have made a blunder by calling up Carlton Cole to a 20-man squad to take on South Africa early next month, with the striker deemed ineligible to play for the Super Eagles.

The West Ham forward, who was born in Croydon, was a regular member of England's Under-21 squad earlier in his career and turned down previous call-ups to the Nigeria squad, saying instead he wanted to play for his homeland.

Under FIFA guidelines, players who represent one country at junior level are allowed to switch to another country provided they are still under the age of 21.

With Cole, who has a Nigerian father and Sierra Leonean mother, due to turn 25 in November, playing for Nigeria is out of the question.

PA Sport's attempts to reach the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for comment on the matter proved fruitless.

Earlier today, NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire said Cole's inclusion in the squad was part of plans to experiment with different options ahead of the final World Cup qualifying phase.

He told www.kickoffnigeria.com: 'By and large, the list underscores Nigeria's desire to try new options against the backdrop of the Super Eagles having already picked a ticket for the third and final phase of qualifying, which begins in March 2009.'

The other new player named by Amodu is Italy-based defender Ola Daniel from AC Cesena, while the coach has selected nine England-based players in his latest list, including Cole.

However, there was no place for Hapoel Tel Aviv goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and Getafe forward Ike Uche, both of whom were not allowed by their clubs to go to the Olympics with Nigeria's Under-23 squad.

Amodu has already guided his team into the final round of 2010 World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifying after they became the first side through with four wins from their opening Group Four matches.

The Super Eagles play World Cup hosts South Africa in Port Elizabeth on September 6 before facing Sierra Leone on October 11.

Nigeria squad: Ayenugba (Bnei Yehuda), Etafia (Moroka Swallows); Yobo (Everton), Shittu (Watford), Odiah (CSKA Moscow), Mohammed (Al Hilal), Ola (Cesena), Nwaneri (FC Sion), Taiwo (Marseille); Olofinjana (Stoke City), Uche (Almeria), Mikel (Chelsea), Haruna (Monaco), Ayila (Dynamo Kiev); Okoduwa (Dynamo Kiev), Utaka (Portsmouth), Cole (West Ham), Martins (Newcastle), Yakubu (Everton), Kanu (Portsmouth).