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Obasi set for return

Lead ImageHoffenheim’s Chinedu Obasi, right, and team mate Sejad Salihovic celebrate Obasi’s opening goal during a German first division soccer match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Hamburg in Mannheim, central Germany.

Obasi set for return

>Ifeanyi Ibeh with agency reports

October 14, 2010 01:32AM

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It has been four months since Chinedu Obasi last played a competitive game, but the Nigerian forward is set to return to action this weekend for German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

The former FC Lyn of Norway player suffered a stress fracture on his shin during the World Cup and hasn’t played any part so far in Hoffenheim’s 2010/2011 Bundesliga campaign.

Obasi last week featured for 45 minutes in a test match played in front of 750 spectators against second division outfit FSV Frankfurt and later informed his club’s official website of his desire to help Hoffenheim; and “as soon as possible”, improve their position in the league from their current sixth position.

His wish may come to pass much sooner than expected as he could make his comeback for Hoffenheim against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday.

Eager to play

“I’m nearly there now and can’t wait to get back into action this weekend,” Obasi told the BBC.

“I have stepped up my work and have had no bad reaction,” continued Obasi who also expressed disappointment at the lack of concern shown by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following his injury.

“I am not surprised but rather disappointed that there has not been one call from anyone in the NFF to ask how I am doing,” he said.

“Luckily for me, my club, teammates and family stood by me even though I got injured playing for Nigeria at the World Cup.”

Without Obasi, the Super Eagles failed to fly last weekend in Conakry where they suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Guinea in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The loss to the Syli Stars has placed Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for the tournament to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in jeopardy.

Disorderly NFF

But Obasi told the BBC that the result did not come as a shock to him insisting the crisis-plagued NFF needs to put its house in order to salvage the Super Eagles.

“There are too many problems [in that place]; it is a structural problem and once the head is in trouble it trickles down to the bottom,” he said.

“It is surely not an excuse for us [the players] but a house in crisis will have a negative effect on its household.

“Once the NFF can sort itself, get a substantive coach who will put together a solid team then the players will have no reason or whatsoever not to deliver.

“We have coaches and players going in and out every three months, nothing is stable or concrete which is not good for progress or success,” added Obasi, who is the only Nigerian to have appeared at the FIFA Under 17, Under 20 and Senior World Cups as well as Olympics games.

Odemwingie in fitness race

Meanwhile, Obasi’s Super Eagles teammate, Osaze Odemwingie, is battling to overcome a knee injury in time for West Bromwich Albion’s Premier League tie against Manchester United scheduled for Sunday at Old Trafford.

Odemwingie is yet to resume training after picking up a knock in the October 2 one-all draw with Bolton and is a doubt for the game against the Red Devils along with fellow forward Jerome Thomas.

“Peter and Jerome are both struggling for the weekend.

They’re not training at the moment,” said Albion’s manager Roberto Di Matteo.

“Peter over-extended his knee against Bolton. It’s good that we have had an international week but he’s still not okay.

“It was swollen after the game and we hoped he would recover quicker but the damage was worse than we thought. He had a scan and it’s nothing serious but he needs more time,” added the former Italy international.

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