As was revealed a couple weeks ago, Sounders FC’s Obafemi Martins was not included in Nigeria’s preliminary World Cup roster and will not be part of this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
Ultimately, it wasn’t a huge surprise. Martins hadn’t been heavily involved with the national team for a couple years, and talking about it for the first time after Thursday’s practice, he said he’s not worried about it.
“If they’re going to a World Cup, I’ll play my own World Cup with the Seattle Sounders,” said the DP forward. “I’m happy to be here and to play games.”
“Not a big deal. I was there. I’ve been there and everything. If I’m not there now, they have young players, as well, who are good. If they think they have better players that they can take there, why not? Take them. I have a team, and that team is here, and I’m enjoying it and happy to be with the Sounders.”
Martins noted he will still watch Nigeria’s games the same as he has in the past.
With the Sounders, Martins looks to play a crucial role in an attack that will be missing U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey for a while, potentially five or six games. Asked if his role might shift a little from playmaker to goal scorer — Martins has four goals this season but also a league-leading six assists — he said: “I think definitely. I’m a striker. I always love to score goals and everything. What I’m doing right now, I think I’m doing well, but still I need to do better trying to score more goals.”
“We’re going to miss them, DeAndre (Yedlin) and (Brad) Evans and Clint, but still we have to keep going.”
Martins said he’s seen good things from guys like Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper in training, and when asked if he has a preferred partner, he added: “Any of the strikers, I think we can play well together. With Clint gone now, we’re going to miss him, the other players, too, but still we have a couple of players who can prove themselves and everything. I hope we’re going to jell well.”