The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said it will take action against Newcastle United and Millwall Football Club by submitting a petition to FIFA if both England clubs fail to release Shola Ameobi and John Shittu for the 2013 Africa Nations Cup taking place in South Africa.
Ameobi was refused permission to join the Eagles for the competition after Newcastle said a clause in his last contract with the club specifies that he will not be attending the Nations Cup while Millwall also stated that Shittu will not play for Nigeria in South Africa.
Chairman of the Technical Committee of the NFF, Chris Green, made the threat known in Port Harcourt, adding that NFF would petition FIFA if both clubs did not release the players by January 5. Green also said the clubs were yet to make official contact with NFF over the unavailability of the two players.
He said, “Now, for Danny Shittu and Shola Ameobi, as far as we are concerned, we do not want that matter to distract us because the coach is ready to work without the players.
“But again, the football federation shall consider such attitude as quite unwholesome on the part of the players as well as their clubs because as it appears, it’s the clubs that are pushing for these players not to honour the invitation to play for their country.
“So, of course, we are going to take the matter to FIFA; we are going to write appropriately; we are not going to lie low because, at least, let’s do what is right, that we should not be taken for granted. After all, these players were found in Nigeria, these players are from Nigeria and they also desire to play for Nigeria.
“So, what is the problem? Why would they have to stop them, using underarm tricks to stop the players. That will not be right,” Green said.
The NFF official however added that coach Stephen Keshi had enough quality in the team and would still do well in South Africa without Ameobi and Shittu. The Eagles are already in Faro, Portugal, preparing for the Nations Cup.