–Super Eagles defender, Godfrey Oboabona rues injury blow in Brazil 2014
He was one of the Super Eagles biggest revelations at the South Africa 2013 AFCON.
Caykur Rizespor of Turkey centre-back, Godfrey Oboabona was expected to consolidate on his superb showings at the AFCON in Brazil 2014, but a serious injury in Nigeria’s opening fixture against Iran would ensure the former Sunshine star of Akure stalwart would play no further part in that championship.
Oboabona in this interview pours out his emotions as he relays his worst moment in the round leather game.
BRAZIL 2014 WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE
I still have to thank God for all that happened to me at the World Cup because nothing happens without divine arrangement. Brazil 2014 was my first World Cup, which I was looking forward to as every player would. But it was painful because I could only play for just a few minutes before that dream was cut short by injury. It was a sad moment for me, though I felt I could bounce back in subsequent games, alas that was not to be! Like I said, I thank God for everything because whatever happens in life should be taken in good faith.
It was devastating! I never envisaged that at all and if anyone had told me my World Cup would end in just 30 minutes, I would have called that a joke. I went for the ball in the air and to my surprise, landed badly and my ankle was twisted in the process. I wanted to eventually emerge as one of the best defenders of the World Cup but that injury ended my dream. In all situations, you just have to thank God, besides, once there is life there is hope. I am back now still playing football and there are still more World Cups ahead of me by the special grace of God.
WORLD CUP HIGHS AND LOWS
Yeah the World Cup has come and gone now but the memories will forever remain with me. Honestly, my happiest moment was kicking the ball in Brazil even though I never had the opportunity to play much but I have got no regret at all as far as Brazil 2014 is concerned.
Playing at the World Cup is my happiest moment because not every player gets to do that in a lifetime. However, it was painful I had that injury. Each time I look back, all I have to do is to thank God. At that time when I was in the wheelchair, several thoughts were running through my mind; I felt like God, is this how my World Cup dream would end? Just like that! I was close to tears but I had to summon courage and wish my team the best of luck.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME?
Well, I would still go for that ball in the air and hopefully be more careful with my landing. I would be happy to play against Lionel Messi and some of his Argentina teammates. It hurt missing out on the Argentina match because that was a game where Super Eagles did their best even though they lost by 3-2. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would look towards to playing against France and hopefully help Nigeria win that game. But in reality, the rest of the team gave their all and the defenders were great too. I wouldn’t have done anything special, even though we all agree that injury tends to deplete a team and ours was not different.
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RUMOUR THAT YOU WERE HAUNTED BY TEAMMATES
I don’t believe in that, I believe in God almighty who is the maker of heaven and earth. My injury was due to happen because God himself is aware of it. All that happened to me in Brazil was a divine arrangement, God knows why he allowed the injury. The view that some of my teammates used some diabolical means to stop me from playing does not hold water at all. I was not witch hunted in Brazil by my teammates as some people speculate, the injury just happened.
DID SUPER EAGLES MISS GODFREY OBOABONA?
I don’t think my presence would have made any difference from what we had against the likes of France. We could have lost badly too if I was not injured, that is football. In all, credit must go to my Super Eagles teammates for pushing the team all the way to the second round. I am the one that missed the team much because I had no other option than to sit and watch, then offer some encouraging words to the team.
LIFE IN TURKEY
Yeah, I have to keep thanking God for the move because it was the turning point of my football career. Daniel Amokachi’s legacy lives on in Turkey, the country is just crazy about Nigerian players. In life nothing good comes easy. I have really settled down to business at my club now and all I am looking forward to now is for the season to start. Talking about the people, I will say they have been wonderful and the food too. Just as they say; if you’re in Rome you have to behave like the Romans. I am enjoying my career here in Turkey; this coming season would be a better one for me. Everything is going on fine with me here and I have really integrated into the Turkish community.
EXPECTATIONS FOR THE NEW SEASON
The pre-season is over now and we all are back in the club training and looking forward to a new football season. We are training hard daily as we look forward to our first season game.
Lots of friendly matches were played during the pre-season and that really helped put the players in top shape. Our vision and plan is to make sure Çaykur Rizespor qualify for Europa at the end of the season by the special grace of God.
RELATIONSHIP WITH COACH MEHMET OZDILEK
Things get tougher as you aim higher in life. Yes it was rough at the initial stage of my arrival in the club but it worked out in my favour in the long run because I was able to work very hard and fight for my place in the team. At the end, I was able to play 21 matches last season but I am looking forward to an improvement on that this coming season. My relationship with Mehmet Özdilek is cordial and he has continued to spur me on.