–Eagles star wishes CAF order replay with South Africa
YOUR THOUGHTS ON AFCON EXIT
Painful! I can’t find other words to describe our exit, perhaps someone could tell me a word to use here because it is like I was in dreamland. We gave our all to ensure we could defend our trophy but the draw with South Africa was shocking and I could not find sleep all through that night. I felt like the game ought to be replayed once again. I wondered why we failed to make it to AFCON after all, when against all odds we defeated Congo Brazzaville at home. I still find it hard to believe that Nigeria won’t be going to AFCON 2015. It’s still shocking to me honestly and it will take time for me to get this behind me.
WHAT REALLY WENT WRONG?
That is the question we kept asking ourselves. Having gone that far to beat Congo at home; one expects us to wrap it up at home. Even when we were a goal down, we still held that confidence that we would qualify no matter what. But as soon as the second goal got in, it was then that it dawned on us that we had a job on our hands. I think we weren’t just lucky enough on that night because had our goals gone in earlier; the game would have been won in the first half. My colleagues gave their all and the strikers did their best but our goals came in late and it was not just enough to see us through.
WHAT WAS THE GAME PLAN?
We played to win, that’s all. There was no plan B. All we planned to do was to win, just to be sure of our qualification but things turned out the other way. It really hurt and a large number of the squad wept that night. That was a night I don’t want to remember, a sad one for me and my colleagues. I must confess this qualifier was a difficult one and lessons have been learnt. We will bounce back by the special grace of God. People said we underrated the South Africans but that is not true. We played to win on that day but things did not go as planned.
MY AFCON REGRET
Honestly, it was difficult to believe when I came to terms with the fact that I won’t be playing at the Nations Cup next year. South Africa 2013 was my first Nations Cup debut which we won. I was already thinking of going there with huge experience from the World Cup itself but all of that is over now. I know I still have more years to play for Nigeria. I just have to keep working hard and hoping for the best. We are really sorry for missing out of AFCON; we will make it up by the special grace of God in the future. I really want to thank my father in the lord, Prophet TB Joshua, for all his support in my illustrious football career. As well as all Nigerians who supported us throughout. God bless them all.
WAS THERE ANY FORM OF SABOTAGE?
Not at all! We all love this country and would never do such a thing. The FA and the coaching crew all wanted us to qualify for the AFCON, it was just painful we could not make it.
WHERE NEXT FROM HERE?
We just have to move ahead from our disappointment. We have to leave the past behind and look forward to a brighter future. I know Nigeria is a blessed country, I am optimistic a better future awaits our football. My vision is to give thanks in everything that has happened and then keep helping my club to get better in Italian Serie A. The national team is my life and I will always be loyal to my country even when things are not going on well. Super Eagles will return stronger and better. Football is about ups and down; we are down now but not out because we will surely fight back. Good luck to all the teams in AFCON 2015.
VISION FOR LAZIO
That is where my attention is now because that is the only way I can put the AFCON miss behind me. I will keep working hard. My vision is to help Lazio qualify for UEFA Champions League; that is my priority this season. I am happy my teammates have been showing determination on the field and I hope we reach our target at the end of the season.
I think it is rather too early to start thinking of leaving a club that recently gave you a contract. I just signed a new contract with Lazio and I am a Lazio player right now. My vision is to justify that belief and work towards the team’s success. They have showed their belief in me, it is left for me to make it up to them by giving them my best in the Serie A this season. Lazio is such a great side and we can always get better
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
It has been everything for me. I just have to thank God for everything. God has been faithful to me and all I can say is thank you Lord. I would have loved to see my country qualify for AFCON 2015, but all of that is in the past now. The coming year will be a better one.