Newcastle Utd’s Shola Ameobi is fit for Nigeria’s World Cup clash

Newcastle United's Shola Ameobi
Newcastle United's Shola Ameobi

NEWCASTLE United’s Shola Ameobi has declared himself fit to make his comeback from injury for Nigeria in their World Cup play-off against Ethiopia.

The Super Eagles are 180 minutes away from a place in next summer’s finals in Brazil.

Nigeria take on Ethiopia in Addis Ababa in the first leg of the play-off on Sunday.

Ameobi – who scored in last month’s 4-1 friendly win over Burkina Faso – has been sidelined in recent weeks, with his last club appearance having come against Fulham in late August.

But the 31-year-old is fit and ready to play for the country of his birth.

“I worked really hard to ensure that I’m fit for this game,” said Ameobi after arriving in Abuja to link up with his international colleagues.

“I’m fully fit for the encounter – I’m happy to be here.”

Nigeria are favourites to progress to the World Cup, but Ameobi, a late-comer to senior international football, is wary of Ethiopia.

The former England Under-21 international said: “Everybody has tipped us to win the game, but we must remember that Ethiopia are not pushovers.

“We don’t need any extra motivation to beat Ethiopia. Every player in this squad knows the importance of being at the World Cup.”

NEWCASTLE United midfielder Dan Gosling says he doesn’t want to become “the forgotten man of football”.

Gosling last week joined Blackpool on loan until January looking to revive a once-promising career.

The 23-year-old signed for United from Everton three years ago, but he has made just 28 of appearances.

“I don’t want to be the forgotten man of football,” he said. “This is the perfect place for me to show everyone what I can do.”