Stephen Keshi, the Super Eagles’ Head Coach, on Tuesday warned that there would be no automatic shirt for players in the team, as it prepares for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Keshi gave the warning in London while talking to the players as the team closed camp following a successful football year.
A statement by the team’s Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, said the players were decamped after the friendly against the Azzuris of Italy, which ended 2-2 at the Craven Cottage, Fulham, London.
Keshi was quoted by Alaiya as saying: “It’s time to go back and work hard for our various club sides and stay healthy, because that will form the basis for invitation when we resume next year.
“The truth is that not everybody here will go to the World Cup, but that is how football goes.
“So, those who want to be part of the team must remain fit and play regularly for their club sides.”
Alaiya added: “He used the opportunity to thank the players for their commitment to the national team and wished them and their families a merry Christmas and prosperous New Year in advance.
“Keshi noted that the team could have ended the year on a high note with a win against the Italians, who have won the World Cup three times.
“Maybe, we had too much respect for them but I am sure that if by chance we meet at the World Cup, we will put up a better performance.”
The statement said that three England-based stars, Mikel Obi, Shola Ameobi and Victor Moses, left the camp on Monday night for their bases, while the other players waited to leave on Tuesday.
Keshi and other officials of the team are expected back on Thursday morning, as they are to depart London on Wednesday night via Heathrow Airport for Lagos.
The statement further said that Keshi was expected to start preparations for the Championship of African Nations early in December, with home-based professionals.
The event holds in January in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles have pleaded with President Goodluck Jonathan and Senate President David Mark to boost the team’s morale following its qualification for the World Cup.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, the team’s Captain, who spoke on behalf of the players, noted that the support received from relevant government agencies aided the team’s qualification for the World Cup.