Super Eagles star Alex Iwobi’s father Chuka is proud of his son’s dedication to the Nigeria cause as the country nears qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Chuka spoke with Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD in Uyo, backing Alex to rise to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s challenge and advising other players with options to try out the Super Eagles…
Arsene Wenger in recent interviews has stated that Alex needs to be more clinical in the final third in games. Do you agree with this assertion and don’t you think this will come with pressure?
The job of a professional is to be the best you can and the coach has given him a lot of confidence. He said to him, go and play for me. Of course there are always expectations, no matter who you are, be you Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Wenger has set a target for Alex and on his own part there is pressure and there is no pressure. He is learning the trade and working hard. He is an offensive player that you expect goals and assists from. There is a target that has been set for him by Wenger and they are achievable goals.
Wenger tells him ‘I think you are good player and you can offer more’.
What are those targets and goals Wenger set for Alex?
To be a better player and score more goals.
Alex scored against Zambia on matchday 1 of the 2018 World Cup qualifier in Ndola. Do you see him adding a second this weekend?
I’m not going to put any pressure on him. The target ultimately is about the team. If we get a goal from the goalkeeper or from any player it’s about winning the game for the team and if Alex scores that will be the icing on the cake for me as a father.
How fulfilled will you be to see Alex represent Nigeria at the World Cup in Russia?
I have been following Alex around playing football since he was four years old and he has achieved a whole lot from playing in England, Arsenal and Nigeria. It’s the dream of every father to see his son play at the World Cup.
I can’t imagine how proud I would be to see him achieve that feat next year for Nigeria. When he made his debut for Nigeria it almost brought tears to my eyes and there’s no truth more than that he loves playing for Nigeria.
He is integrating well into the team. He speaks pidgin English and you can see I’m always with him. I try to give back to the country that has given me so much.
What advice do you have for other players of Nigerian descent who are yet to pledge their allegiance to the Super Eagles?
The simple answer is there is a lot of misconceptions trying to do that. We also saw it when we first switched. For a player who has been in abroad for the better part of his years there are always going to be so many difficulties.
My answer has always been come and see for yourself and don’t make assumptions. We came, we saw and we are here. Obviously there are ways to improve on but it’s not about that and the positives surpass the negatives.
I’m sure every father will be proud to see his son play for his country of birth.