Not many would have imagined that it would turn out this way for Osazee Odemwingie.
Unlike, the dedicated, easy going Osazee we used to know, he is now a man who hug controversy anywhere he goes. The same Osazee who in the past was always the first to arrive camp when invited for national assignment.
Those days, Osazee is loved off and on the pitch. On the field of play, he gives his all. But all that changed when fortune and fame smiled on him or so it seemed, when he left Lokomotiv Moscow of Russia for the famed English Premiership.
Osazee, who probably now think he has arrived, then showed his true colour. First to taste Osazee’s venom was the former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia who he accused of having ‘issues’ and questioned his coaching style, just because Siasia questioned his attitude.
Osazee wrote, “His training methods, his unguarded outbursts, attitude and treatment of older players is causing disaffection in his new Super Eagles – more like a time bomb.”
While many thought Osazee’s issue with Siasia was just a personality clash, in a recent attack he says Keshi will still be sacked for daring to leave him out of the Africa Cup of Nations final in South Africa.
Even before then, Keshi had explained his decision.
“We decided not to take some of these superstars to the Nations Cup because it is a long period of time, and for the long period of time, you need characters who go together,” Keshi explained.
“And if you have one or two who do not get along, forget about the superstars, the team will fall apart. I can bring a player in for a game. We can manage some of these players with a little bit of character problems, but when it comes to a long period of time, that’s difficult.
“Odemwingie is a very good player, a player I love to have in the team, but he wants to do what he wants to do,” Keshi had explained further.
If all his twitter rants were directed at his home country alone, one could understand, but Osazee’s hot expletives are not limited to Nigerian coaches alone, his club side, West Brom Albion is also receiving knocks from him.
In January, Odemwingie infuriated Albion after submitting a transfer request and then driving to Loftus Road on deadline day in a bid to push through a move to Queens Park Rangers, but the move failed.
Ever since that misadventure, he had lashed out at the club at the slightest excuse.
If he goes unchecked, he may end up like the likes of Etim Esin, who was accused of rape, and Godwin Okpara, who was jailed.
Brought up in Russia, Osazee was actually eligible to play for the Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan national teams, but chose to play for Nigeria where his father was born, even though he was born in Sylane in the old USSR and grew up through its Celtic youth systems.
His first match for Nigeria came as a substitute in a 3–0 victory over Kenya on May 4, 2002.
He also played in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations where he played in the semi-final, losing to Côte d’Ivoire 1–0. He was included to play for Nigeria in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
He captained the team for the 2010 Cup of Nations, and when Nigeria bowed out of the competition at the semi-final stage, he controversially openly criticised coach Shaibu Amodu’s tactics, blaming them for the defeat. He was chosen as part of the Best XI of the tournament.
He was selected for the Nigeria squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Recently, his future at West Bromwich Albion came under doubt when he launched a tirade against his club on Twitter, in addition to accusing them of “reaching into his pocket,” reiterating his wish for a move elsewhere.
While this controversy continues there are indications that he may still return to Super Eagles, but he needs to control his regular outburst.