Wolfsburg striker Victor Osimhen had mixed feelings after making his debut for the Super Eagles in Saturday's 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier defeat to South Africa. In this interview with Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD, the 18-year-old striker recounts his experience in the Nigeria senior national team camp, his debut season with VFL Wolfsburg and dreams ahead of next season…
You finally made your debut for the senior national team in that painful defeat to South Africa in Uyo. Tell us what was going through your mind when the Eagles were trailing 2-0, before you came on for Moses Simon with less than five minutes?
I thank God for my debut. I had mixed feelings sincerely. I was happy getting on to the pitch for my debut and I was eager to come in and help the team. I felt bad after the game because we lost the game. My target was to help my team get back into the game but unfortunately we could not break the South Africans down. Nigerians are not happy about the result so also the players but I believe we will come back stronger in subsequent games. At times football ends this way. You expect the unexpected. This defeat is a wake-up call for the players and I think we will do everything to win the game against Cameroon in the World Cup qualifiers in August.
Do you think you would have done better if you had started that game against South Africa?
Yes, because I'm a striker and I will give my best. I feel every player that started the game was also ready for the match just as those on the bench. Even if I had started what would happen would definitely happen. We all did our best and obviously it was not good enough.
What was the mood like in camp after the defeat?
The mood was terrible. A burden of expectation was on us and we failed to deliver. It was not a joyous mood but I'm confident we will get back on track again. We were all down after the game. Nobody predicted a sour ending right from the start of the camping in Paris we were all hopeful of beating South Africa but I think we got stunned at their defensive approach.
Certainly some players were missed and some people believe that the loss was as a result of inexperience in the team on the day?
It's easy to criticise but I believe regardless what was destined to happen would definitely have happened if they were in camp or not. In a way they could have made some difference most especially our captain Mikel.
What was it like battling for a place in the starting line-up alongside Kayode Olanrewaju and Henry Onyekuru. Both players scored over 20 goals in the outgoing season. Were you at some point jittery?
No, I was not. Maybe if I was already 18 when I joined Wolfsburg and started the season I could have scored some goals as well. It's football, what I love doing everyday. It was a good one fighting for a place against the two of them. I learnt from them no doubt but you know as strikers we all have different qualities and I think the coach opted for the style that suited his pattern. I respect them and it's good for the team that we have different qualities.
Which player made the biggest influence on you in the national team camp?
Several players did. John Ogu, Ogenyi Onazi were helpful to me but aside from them my representatives Ariyo Igbayiola and Shira Ayila were also supportive to me.
Talking about your club now, you made three substitute appearances for Wolfsburg last season as they survived the drop to Bundesliga 2. What are your targets for next season?
I'm fully fit again and I can't wait for July 2 when the pre-season starts. I am ready and there was so much expectation when I arrived but those injury setbacks denied me those chances to help my team. I am ready now to challenge for a starting place in my team and my target as a striker is to score more goals for my team and ensure we don't battle relegation like we did next season.
Are you looking to challenge Mario Gomez who finished as your club's top scorer for last season?
We play in the same role and it won't be bad to learn fast on how to succeed him in that position. He is a great player and one of the reasons why we stayed up last season. Wolfsburg is a big team and we don't want to battle relegation again.
Talking about injury those setback last season. How did you feel on the sideline watching your teammates play?
It was not pleasant at all. I had two surgeries but I'm grateful to God for good health and I pray I don't suffer any setback in my career again.
You showed off a bit of your dancing skill during your induction into the Super Eagles in a dinner. What inspired that song Teckno's Aiye which you rendered?
I love the song so much and the dance steps. I love dancing too.
What other things do you do when you're not playing football.
Listening to music and dancing.