The name Christopher Nwosu is one that readily comes to mind when the Saudi 1989 Flying Eagles squad is mentioned.
Nwosu save Nigeria’s blushes when he scored a wonder goal against Czechoslovakia, to prevent Nigeria from being eliminated at the group stage. In this interview with Completesportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI, Nwosu reveals the reasons why he failed to make strong impact at the Super Eagles level. He furhr speaks on the chances of Sunday Oliseh’s team in the AFCON qualifiers, Nigerian players in the transfer market and the Golden Eaglets at this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
The Super Eagles will take on Tanzania in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday, what are your thoughts on the game?
I believe the game will be a big test for the new coach, Sunday Oliseh and his coaching crew. But I believe they will do well.
The new Super Eagles coach invited 18 overseas-based players with notable names like Mikel, Moses, Ideye, Ighalo, being left out. What’s your take on this?
I think the coach should not be bothered with questions and an outcry about why he left out certain players from the squad. Now is not the time to start talking about that, he is still trying to form a team and should be given time to do his work.
Looking at the makeup of the Super Eagles group that includes Egypt, Chad and Tanzania, do you think it will be a straight fight between Nigeria and Egypt?
Egypt is not our problem. When the boys are ready to prove themselves, all these nations will not be a threat. All what the team need is to have a leader on the pitch and a good organization at the defense. And very importantly, a creative midfield player that knows how to read a game. And I think we have to start looking for creative midfield players and not always strikers.
So you are confident that after missing the last AFCON in Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria will qualify this time?
Very well, don’t you believe they can do it? I bet you, Oliseh will do good with the Super Eagles.
Let’s look at the transfer market which had some Nigerian players moving from one club to another. Are you satisfied with the kind of movements they have made?
Believe me or not, our boys out there are doing very well. There are other African players too doing there own thing, to play for there countries. so the competition out there is very tough.
Nigeria will be in chile for the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup, do you see them defending their crown successfully?
Every thing is possible. They have the ability to deliver and also the coach is doing a great job with the boys. There are lots of young talented footballers in the team, hoping they will one day play for Nigeria at the senior level. The Golden Eaglets are the pride of our nation, why?, because they listen to instructions, and they are disciplined.
Still on the U-17 World Cup, the Golden Eaglets have won the competition four times. But we tend to struggle when we get to the big stage like the senior World Cup. Have Nigeria missed the whole idea about the U-17 World Cup?
I don.t think so. Our problems are not on the youth level, but growing up and advancing to the next level is our problem. Also too many politicians and Godfathers are involved in the management of our senior national team. We must let disciplined coaches handle our team and put corruption aside, then we can talk about a well organized senior national team.
You featured for both the U-17 and U-20 national teams of Nigeria and did very well. But never progressed with the Super Eagles. You played just one game against Ivory Coast in 1993, What really went wrong?
Ask the then chief coach of the Super Eagles and his gangs. I don’t know, but I want to know. The important thing is that I am glad I had the opportunity to represent the nation at the most needed time. And thanks to the coaches that believed in my ability then.
Are you saying the then Super Eagles coach, Clemence Westerhof and some other persons were responsible for your brief time with the Super Eagles?
Yes, that is just the truth. If you don’t belong, you are just an outsider. That is why the so called Super Eagles will always have problems. Back then, if you do some things, you got into the national team. But it is ages ago now, but I only hope players with good qualities be given enough chance to prove their ability in the team.
How did the whole episode back then affect you?
I was very disappointed, even the media didn’t show any interest then. I was all alone to do my thing, but I thank God the little work I did for the country was not in vain, people still talk about me as a good player then and I am glad my God made me one of the best in Nigeria.
What impact do you think playing for the Super Eagles back then would have had in the team?
I think it would have made a great difference because my football then was natural. And maybe my impact would have helped the team reach the final of the 1994 World Cup, This I strongly believe. My impact would have been something the whole country would have been proud of.
Did it affect you in your club career, like missing out on big deals?
Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s all good, a footballer must always have his low moments in life, I did have mine and it was very bitter.
Would that be regarded as your regret as a former Nigeria player?
No, but part of life as a national player with great ambition.
The disappointment you had with the Super Eagles notwithstanding, you had a memorable moments playing for Nigeria. Can you share some of these moments with us?
The times I wore the national colours of Nigeria and went all the way to represent the nation at the U-17 and the U-20 World Cups up till the few times I was with with the Super Eagles, were all great moments in my life.
Any plan to come back home and help in the development of Nigerian football, like taking up a coaching job?
Yes, I plan coming home to contribute to the development of soccer (football) in NIgeria in any capacity, be it coaching because I have my uEFA license, or at the administrative level.