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Eagles ban ear rings

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has warned the country’s players against wearing ear rings as he moved to impose a new and purposeful identity on the team.

“If we were Indians, I would understand, because it’s part of their culture but wearing ear rings by men is alien to Nigeria and no player is permitted here to wear them,” ordered the Eagles coach, who succeeded Samson Siasia after Nigeria failed to qualify for the Nations Cup for the first time in 25 years.

Skipper Joseph Yobo, Osaze Odemwingie, Victor Anichebe, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Peter Utaka, Brown Ideye, Dele Adeleye and Obafemi Martins will therefore have to do without their expensive jewelleries when next they are under Keshi’s charge.

This week Keshi began a training camp in Abuja for 30 players from the country’s domestic league.

The former international skipper therefore harped on discipline and warned against playing to the gallery as “the national camp is no breeding ground for players who want to show off”.

“We’re in for serious business, because we want to return our country to the top and any player not ready would be shown the exit door,” he warned.

“I will not quarrel with any player but anyone who flouts camp rules should pack his bag and leave the camp before I react negatively.”

Keshi promised that home-based players will no longer be used as training materials but rather given a decent chance to fight for places in his team with their counterparts from overseas.

He therefore challenged the players to prove that they are better than the foreign pros and he would stick with them in the qualifiers for the 2013 Nations Cup and 2014 World Cup.

“At the age of 20, I was already captaining the national team and I did it for 14 years, any of you here can do it and do it very well, just put your mind to it and with God we will reach the Promised Land,” he urged.

Heartland defender Chibuzor Okonkwo told the team officials he is Nigeria’s best fullback, but Keshi insisted he must prove that on the pitch.

“If you prove to me that you are the best then you make my team, otherwise you leave the team,” the coach maintained.

“But I believe that you are all good players here that was why you were invited out of thousands of other players who wished to be here.

“We have to prove to Nigerians that our league is still strong enough and it must start from you as the ambassadors of the league.”

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