Roeder clarifies Martins absence
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Newcastle United say Obafemi Martins missed Nigeria's friendly to attend to his mother.
Newcastle United boss Glenn Roeder says Obafemi Martins needed to tend to his ill mother after missing Nigeria's friendly with Ghana this week.
Former Internazionale striker Martins was absent after being called up by The Super Eagles, as Nigeria went on to lose 4-1 to The Black Stars at Brentford's Griffin Park on Tuesday evening.
His absence angered Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen, who threatened to report the situation to Fifa.
Roeder, however, revealed how the striker used Fifa's 'free day' for international players to fly home to Nigeria and bring his ill mother back to the North East.
"Oba was back in training today after making a lightning-quick return to Nigeria to attend to his mother, who has been poorly," Roeder said.
It remains to be seen if Nigerian football officials carry through with their threat to report Newcastle and Martins to world football's governing body.
The former West Ham United manager gave praise to midfielders Antoine Sibierski and Kieron Dyer for their goals contribution this season, having further underlined the void left by the absence of the injured Michael Owen.
"Our injury worries started at the World Cup with Michael Owen getting hurt, and have continued from then," he added.
"We have not made injuries an excuse, we have merely stated who is or is not available.
"But we knew before a ball had even been kicked we would be robbed of Michael Owen's services.
"What team would not find it hard without Michael? He is a world-class striker.
"You only need to look at Chelsea when John Terry was out to see what a difference one player being injured can make."