LONDON: Obafemi Martins has left Newcastle's preseason preparations after his mother died when an oil tanker caught fire near her apartment in the Nigerian capital Lagos.Martins' mother Alhaja, 62, was among at least eight people killed Thursday when the tanker collided with a barrier on the side of a road in Lagos and burst into flames, the club said.
"Oba has flown back to Nigeria on compassionate grounds to be with his family at what is a very sad time for them," Newcastle said. "Everyone at the club extends their greatest sympathies to Oba and his relatives."
Martins' agent Chris Nathaniel said the 23-year-old forward was devastated.
"As you would expect, Oba is extremely upset at the moment," he said. "This has come as a massive shock to him and his family. His mother was a guiding light to him and had a strong influence on his life."Martins was dropped from the squad for tomorrow's friendly against Doncaster and may miss next week's friendlies with Hertha Berlin and Real Mallorca.His absence leaves Magpies manager Kevin Keegan increasingly short of attacking options. Mark Viduka and Andy Carroll are both injured and captain Michael Owen missed England's summer friendlies with a virus.
Newcastle faces Manchester United away in its Premier League opener on Aug. 17