Seattle Sounders striker Obafemi Martins and Dynamo Kiev midfielder Lukman Haruna have expressed bewilderment at being frozen out of the Super Eagles by out-of-contract coach, Stephen Keshi, throughout last year.
While Martins only made two appearances under Keshi despite being among the top scorers in the Major League Soccer with 17 goals last season, Haruna was completely forgotten by the Big Boss.
Martins, who later called it quits with the national team in December, told journalists in Lagos on Saturday he no longer know anything about the team.
The former Inter Milan striker featured in a friendly against Venezuela in Miami and in a World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar in 2012.
“I don’t have any issue with [Keshi]; I respect him as a coach but I think he doesn’t like me,” the striker said. “I don’t know why I was left out of the team; it could only mean he never liked me.”
He added, “I can’t say anything about the team, I’ve been out of the squad for a while.”
Haruna also told journalists that he would have loved to play if he had been invited by Keshi. His last national assignment was at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where he played under coach Lars Lagerback against Greece and Argentina.
He has found it increasingly difficult to break into the starting 11 at Dynamo Kiev this season, but is optimistic he will get his chance soon enough.
“I’m always available for my country, I can never say no if invited,” Haruna said.
“I can’t explain why I was not called up, but that’s in the past and it’s unfortunate we didn’t qualify for the Nations Cup.”
The former Monaco player said he would cherish playing under his former boss, Samson Siasia, who is building a new U-23 team for the All-Africa Games and the 2016 Olympics.
“If he wants me to play for him, why not. I’m available to help the team succeed if I’m called up,” he added.