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Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 14:47 UK

Olympic threats for Ogbuke family

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Nigeria striker Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke
Nigeria's Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke is likely to go to the Olympics

Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke claims threats made against his family could force him to defy his German club and play for Nigeria at the Olympics in China.

His club, 1899 Hoffenheim, have so far refused to release Ogbuke for next month's Olympics saying that he is too important to their first-ever campaign in the Bundesliga, which kicks off on 16 August.

The club's official website said that the 22-year-old had reluctantly agreed not to go to China.

However Ogbuke's family have since been violently threatened by angry fans in Enugu, south-eastern Nigeria.

"Fans have been threatening my family. They think I am not committed to playing for Nigeria," he told BBC Sport.

"People are very angry that I am deliberately avoiding a national team call-up, which is not true.

"My brother has been verbally attacked while my mother has begged me to just come back home because she cannot stand the trauma and threats anymore.

The fans can go at any length to show their anger, in Nigeria football means so much to the people

Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke

"I respect the club because they employ me and pay my wages but if I have to choose between my family and football, then I will stay with my family.

However if Ogbuke is, as expected, named in the final squad for the Olympics the final decision will come from football's world governing body.

Under Fifa regulations all clubs must release players, who are under the age of 23, for the Olympic football tournament which ends on 23 August.

"It's a sad situation, I have told the club," Ogbuke explained.

"I don't want to find out what will happen to my family if I decide to stay away from this."

"Will the club get angry with me if I decide to go? Definitely.

"I'd appreciate it if the club first seek for my protection and that of my family in this situation.

"The fans can go at any length to show their anger, in Nigeria football means so much to the people and I am the saddest man on earth at this point.

"I'd like to go back to Nigeria if the club would let me go - at least that will show the fans I care - I hope the fans can just relax and of course my club will hear me out."

In the past, several Nigerian players have received death threats from angry fans for staying away from national team campaigns.

see also
Ogbuke sure of Olympic success
02 Apr 08 |  African
Nigeria book Beijing berth
26 Mar 08 |  African
Wigan deny Ogbuke deal
12 Jan 07 |  African
Ogbuke set for Russia switch
20 Dec 06 |  African

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