Former Super Eagles left-back Taye Taiwo is still disappointed by the decision of Stephen Keshi not to invite him to the national team and ultimately overlooking him when for the 2014 World Cup squad.
Taiwo in this exclusive interview with Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI also reveals why he chose to sign for HJK Helsinki of Finland.
You told Completesportsnigeria.com that you could leave HJK Helsinki for a new club at the end of the season in Finland. What is the situation of things now?
The club have decided that I continue with them but I've not decided on whether to stay or go. That decision will be taken in January.
Your objective has always been to return to the Super Eagles but with the strong competition for places in the Eagles now, especially with the emergence of players from the Nigeria Professional Football League, do you feel it will be difficult for experienced players like you to get back in the team?
I would love to be back in the national team just like Obafemi Martins has recently been recalled. But I won't force it. If I get to play again for Nigeria, fine, if not, no problem. I've been doing that for many years. And besides there are new players in the team. They need to also get their chance.
Stephen Keshi cannot tell me that most of the players he took to the 2014 World Cup are better than those of us he shunned. It's not because he didn't invite me. At least Martins who has been invited by Sunday Oliseh was also not invited by Keshi. Keshi stopped Nigeria from progressing further at the World Cup in 2014 because of his biased selection. That was a big disappointment to me. Most of the players he picked were playing in division three clubs and in obscure leagues. They couldn't even make good passes. Keshi has made our football drop after we all thought we were back to the good old days with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph.
The Finnish league is clearly not amongst the most competitive in Europe. Did you not have offers from bigger clubs?
Definitely I had offers from other bigger clubs than HJK Helsinki. Real Betis from Spain offered me a contract. An offer also came from Greece, and some other places but I chose HJK Helsinki because I wanted playing time. As a footballer, you want to play regularly and you have to look at the options carefully; which one is of the best interest to you, that's what important. I have no regrets going to Finland though I don't know what might happen in future.
The 2015 Glo/CAF awards will be held soon in Abuja and Nigerian stars will once again be missing out from the big prize, the African Footballer of the Year award. You were a nominee in 2006, how does that make you feel?
Well, it's unfortunate but hopefully we shall have one or two among the nominees in 2016.
What are your expectations of Nigerian football in 2016?
Next year, the Olympics will hold and the qualifiers to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations as well as the 2018 World Cup, so Insha Allah our teams will qualify for the tournaments and then do well, not just go there and participate.