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–Keshi’s ‘China Product’ Replies Nigerians on his sojourn in the Asian country.

He was highly vilified by Nigerian Soccer fans as well as the media after he was handed an invitation into the Super Eagles squad for the AFCON qualifier against Sudan.
But Aaron Olanare Samuel surprisingly grabbed the headline when he restored the Super Eagles lead against Sudan in Abuja. The China based former Shooting Star forward takes you through his soccer life…


How would you describe your Super Eagles debut?

It was a great experience for me,   I mean playing alongside some of Nigeria’s best players. That has been my age long desire; playing for Super Eagles is a dream come true for me. I expected the opportunity long ago and I was glad when Coach Stephen Keshi placed me on standby in one of the World Cup qualifiers. I never had the chance to break into the team but today that dream is coming to pass before my eyes. It has been a great experience for me because it is not that easy to break into the team. Super Eagles is made up of top players and I will regard myself lucky to have made the team for both legs against Sudan.


Your debut came in Khartoum; a time when Nigeria needed to score to pick a draw. Did that put you under any pressure  compared  to what Nigerians saw in Abuja?

Not really. I won’t say I was playing under any pressure, but the truth of the matter was that we needed to get a goal at all costs  and in such situation you will be forced to throw in everything within you to ensure the team doesn’t  lose. Such situation cannot really bring out the best in oneself. I will say it was a tougher game compared to the way we played in Abuja, which we eventually won. It was a different feeling in Abuja because I was able to settle down and play better football. Nigerians are yet to see my best. Better days are still ahead.

How were you received, more so with news making the rounds that some  Super Eagles players do not really welcome new players into the side, especially if such is not ready to dance to their tunes?

All the players were very nice to me. I had no issue with anybody when I came in the senior national team because I know what it takes to play alongside the big boys. I was welcomed into the team with open arms and that really helped me to settle down well enough. As you can see, it really showed when we played in Abuja; it was easy to blend with them . More importantly, I was ready to work hard for the team and not just for myself. It was a great feeling for me and I hope I keep enjoying that under the new manager.

Questions were asked when Stephen Keshi invited a player from the Chinese League when the likes of IK Uche and Obafemi Martins are still being  ignored. Would you say your performance against Sudan has justified your inclusion?

Honestly, I have been seeking for that opportunity to show Nigerians what I can do with the ball but there is no way you can prove that if you re not invited by the manager. I was playing for Sarpsborg 08 In Norway when I was invited as standby even though I never got that chance to break into the team. I had European experience before heading to China. It is just that we all have our reasons for every decision we take in our life and same thing applies  to me too. Where I play now does not really matter as long as I can deliver the goals; that is what really matters.

Why the choice of China and not tougher leagues like France, Germany etc?

I had been playing in Europe for two years before I made up my mind to move on to China. I left Shooting Stars for Valerenga; same club Fegor Ogude played for in 2012. I stayed there for a year before joining Sarpsborg 08 in the 2013/2014 season but honestly nothing came out of these places, it was then I decided to join Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League. I think football can be played anywhere,  once you are good enough.

When you said nothing, are you referring to money issues?

There are lots of club out there seeking  my signature but they are not willing to pay me the right  amount  of money. These Europeans  are living on the ground that it’s Europe so they expect you to sign for their clubs, even when they offer you peanuts  but I am not going to fall for that. None of the interested clubs in Europe can afford what I am getting in China. I am not ruling out a possible return to Europe soon, but I just want to concentrate on my game here in China.

But how much do you fancy your chances under Amodu Shuaib who has come out to say it loud and clear that he will only invite top players from Europe?

The last two games I played speaks volumes  about my game. I’m ripe for Super Eagles  and I am ready to fight for shirts in the team  if I’m  invited. I may be playing in China, but I know what I can do if given the opportunity by coach Shuaib  Amodu.

Do you see Nigeria qualifying for AFCON 2015 in Morocco?

Impossible is nothing! We can still make it to AFCON if we can get it right in Congo. Congo’s game is must win if we really want to qualify honestly. We the players know we just have to deliver in our last two games to stand a chance of qualifying. Once  we can defeat  Congo then we will shed our blood to beat South Africa here at home. Nigerians  should not write off Super Eagles. I know the game in Congo will be played on Astro turf too but we are ready to do everything to pick three points in Congo. It won’t be easy but it is possible.
Scoring one goal in two matches is a sign of great things to come. I want to give more to the national team. I had a great experience under coach Stephen Keshi and I will always remember him for believing in me. I am ready to give my best under  coach Amodu if I am given the chance. Nigerians  should believe in Super Eagles; we  thrive  in difficult situations   and I strongly believe we will deliver AFCON 2015 ticket by God’s grace.

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  • SoccerInNigeria 7 years ago

    I have nothing against Aaron Samuel, but for a nation like Nigeria who wants and needs to be competing and winning at the highest level, it matters where you play. Nigeria should be discussing how it should Win the world cup, not talking about beating or not beating Sudan.

    It would have been a different situation if Aaron Samuel was a Drogba or Obafemi or Asamoah Gyan who had played at the highest level in Europe then went to China just to make money. That way the National coach can argue that the younger players can benefit from his experience. Even Drogba was dropped at some point when he moved to China.

    Aaron Samuel has not achieved anything tangible in Europe or at the highest level so it matters where u play. Nigeria is not Zimbabwe or Liberia or Malawi. However I do wish him all the best in China and in his career.

    • why are you not playing yourself?

    • mallam illiya's passport 7 years ago

      Nigeria has never won the world because we lack the mentality and the extremely gifted players. IK Uche that is much revered in Nigeria is never among the top 10 goal scorers in Spain. We rarely have players that compete at the highest level in Europe. Mikel (15 minutes per game when he gates lucky), Obasi (8 minutes in game he gets to play), Musa (well, CSKA isn’t Man. City or Bayern Munich, neither are they Real Madrid nor are they Barcelona), Onazi (can’t remember when last Lazio played in the UCL), Omeruo, Ihenacho, Moses et al., will need few more years to show they are top notch (I hope and pray thing work out for those guys). But all in all, our football is no where near world class.

  • doluv 7 years ago

    guy u badt oh hehehe really

  • Its obvious you never kicked a ball in your life.. Because if you did, then your sense of reasoning would be different.. Obafemi has been invited severally to prove himself and failed. Same with uche.. They are players who play well and with big teams in europe but fail to live up to expectation when they play for their national teams.. E.g, pato, lucas, fred, lucas maura, etc of brazil ar some example of those kinda players.. Use the english national team for example.. A team made up of big stars yet they don’t deliver at international level.. Nigeria should take example from chile, croatia, columbia and other smaller teams who did well at the world cup despite playing without the so called big names.. A tree does not make a forest. In football. Team play is more important than players..

  • BABAWAX 7 years ago

    All these fools should stop opening their mouths and stop talking or writing rubbish. what we should do is develop our local leagues to accommodate our players. clubsides in europe esp western europe are limited and competition is very fierce, places are hard to come by, where a player plays should not be an issue. aaron played in norway for some seasons, YOU MR MOUTH MOUTH have you ever played football in winter, not to mention norway which is even farther north? mentioninig drogba in the same vein as aaron is not sensible bcos drogba grew up in france with some family support. for any african player to get a club in europe is a miracle, so keep it up. lastly mr ignoramus, guangzou, aaron’s club is managed by sven goran eriksson, who would not sign just any player?

    • SoccerInNigeria 7 years ago

      @BABAWAX . You need to calm down oh. I did not say Aaron Samuel is a bad player or that he does not deserve to be given an opportunity in the National Team. Any way you look at it the bottom line is that there are plenty Nigerian players playing and performing at a higher level than Aaron Samuel. There is nothing wrong with inviting Aaron samuel, but why should better players who have performed and produce the goods in Europe be ignored for a player in China who is not an exceptional player? If Nigeria had no players playing at a much higher level then Inviting Aron Samuel will be understandable. Nigeria is blessed with better strikers than Aaron Samuel

      • mallam illiya's passport 7 years ago

        @soccerinnigeria: are you aware that the same aaron samuel is on the wishlist of monaco? some players are not as fortunate as others not because they lack talent, but either due to rush for greener pasture, wrong career decisions, greedy agents etc.

  • Freniya 7 years ago

    Aaron did well in his two games with Super Eagles and hence should be given time to compete.. Guangzhou R&F club is a bigger Club than West Bram in EPL or Celtic in Scotland or a mid or low level class club in Scandinavian….

  • Benue 7 years ago

    @Freniya, @BABAWAX, @bilanto, @zeel

    In my opinion players like Aaron Samuel should invited to play for the national team in friendly games to prove themselves. It does not make sense to invite players to crucial national team games when qualification is hanging in the balance. I dont want to talk about Keshi, but Aaron Samuel is an unfortunate victim of Keshi’s money making invitation policy. What Keshi has done is to expose players like Agbim, Ruben Gabriel, Sunday Emanuel, Aaron Samuel. ETC to avoidable abuse from Nigerians. Hence Samuel has to come to completesports to defend himself. Any average Nigerian player that plays a home game against Sudan will look good and should perform well. Sudan has many inferior defenders on theier team. U20 Taiwo Awoniyi or Chidera Eze will also look against Sudan

    @SoccerInNigeria is a little harsh in his critisizm but i understand the argument he is making. There are many many Nigerian strikers that deserve an invitation before Aaron Samuel. Most of those strikers would have performed very well in the Sudan game in Abuja. So the fact that Aaron played well against sudan does to mean the invitation makes sense.

  • BABAWAX 7 years ago

    Well yes, some of the players Keshi invited during his time are questionable, still more questions need to be asked about E.G reuben gabriel and the clause in his contract that world cup appearance fee be paid to tony harris instead of his club? how was harris certain reuben was going to brazil? aaron samuel for me is a discovery, the potential is there cos the goal he scored was an unorthodox, improvised one. sven goran eriksson is a vastly experienced coach, if he signed aaron for guangzhou then there must be something there.

  • AminaShankey 7 years ago

    Olanara wil go places, CarryOn dear….ur gud2go