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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 11:07 GMT
Nigeria get tough on Martins
By Oluwashina Okeleji

Obafemi Martins
Obafemi Martins flew to Nigeria to be with his sick mother.
Striker Obafemi Martins looks set to be banned from Nigeria's national team for missing Tuesday's clash with Ghana.

Newcastle United released the striker for the game but Martins travelled to Lagos to be with his sick mother.

His absence has infuriated the football authorities in his country, who say a severe punishment will deter others.

"We have issued him a seven-day ultimatum to defend his gross act of indiscipline," Nigeria FA boss Sani Lulu said.

"He had several days to decide on being with his mother and instead of informing coach Austin Eguavoen he left everyone waiting.

"Whatever happens, even if we have to consider his action on compassionate ground, he will still serve a severe punishment for a total lack of respect.

"Hopefully, his punishment will serve as a deterrent to others.

Nigeria coach Austin Eguavoen, who was equally livid for the striker's no-show during the 4-1 defeat to the Black Stars, says Obafemi acted unprofessionally.

"Martins was called up to the squad two weeks before the game and Newcastle released him for that purpose yet he flew straight to Lagos," Eguavoen fumed.

"Such a ridiculous act is highly unprofessional and the highest level of indiscipline and disrespect.

"All he needed to do was make a single phone call but he never thought it wise to reach us.

"I think he deserves whatever punishment is meted out to him."

Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder tried to explain the situation that Martins had taken advantage of a Fifa "free day" to bring his mother to England for medical attention.

But the striker's absence has been greeted with severe criticism back in Nigeria, as the local media slammed him for staying away.

Local media say Martins was nearly mobbed by angry fans at the departure hall of the Lagos International Airport on his way back to England two days ago.

Martins no-show for sick mother
07 Feb 07 |  African
Ghana beat arch rivals Nigeria
07 Feb 07 |  African
Martins free to play for Nigeria
05 Feb 07 |  African


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