Plateau United goalkeeper Oladele Ajiboye is one of four goalkeepers currently sweating it out in the Super Eagles pre-World Cup training camp in Uyo and in this exclusive interview with Completesportsnigeria.com’s KAYODE OGUNDARE, he reveals his World Cup aspirations, relationship with the other keepers and club ambition to retain the Nigeria Professional Football League title…
What was your reaction when you saw that you made the list of 30 players for the Super Eagles training camp?
Yes, to say the least, I was surprised when I saw my name on the list. I congratulated myself that my hardwork is paying off and I also thanked the technical crew for the consideration. It means they have been monitoring my performance all this while.
You have made the 30-man list but you still have to battle to be in the final 23. What do you think you need to do to make the cut?
I think I need to work harder, be more dedicated and focused and then I need to also pray because with God all things are possible. He’s kept me this far and I trust Him to see me through.
What’s the relationship between you and the other four goalkeepers? What’s the rivalry like?
I’ve always said that all four of us do not see each other as rivals. We are all working together to bring glory to Nigeria and anyone that God calls to be named in the team will have the support and prayers of the rest of us. Competition yes but rivalry, no. We are all friends.
What’s the difference between the training routine at your club and in the national team?
You can never compare national team training with your clubside. Even if you are in the national camp for just one week, the work schedule and training techniques will certainly be different. You need 200% focus in training when you are with the national team. You cannot afford to make mistakes because the stakes are higher and you carry the hope of so many people.
Talking about your club, do you think Plateau United can successfully retain the league title they won last year?
Yea, I believe the league title is still up for grabs and we have a very strong team which is good enough to win it even though we are not on top at the moment. We have walked this path before so we know what’s at stake and what’s required. We have the backing of the state governor, we have the same technical crew and we have even recruited new players which mean we are stronger than we were last year when we won the title so it is still very possible to win it.
Given all you have said, Plateau United are still trailing leaders Lobi Stars. Is it that the league is stronger than it was last year or your team is not as strong as it was when you won the title?
Thanks to the League Management Company (LMC), the league keeps improving year on year. You cannot compare what happened two seasons ago when Rangers won the title with last year when we won and now this year. Hopefully next season will still be better than this one. Even this season you can see how many teams are on the heels of Lobi Stars so it’s not going to be easy to predict who will win but we will continue to fight until the final day.
We wish you all the best and thanks for talking to us.
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