–Israel based Nigeria defender Juwon Oshaniwa says Super Eagles are primed for victory over Sudan irrespective of weather or artificial pitch constraints.
Juwon, tell us what are your thoughts on Saturday’s game against Sudan in Khartoum?
I’m a positive person, I don’t look at things from the negative side, we all know the importance of not only the game in Sudan but also the one coming in Nigeria next week. The maximum six points is what we’re going for, it can’t be anything less. So we’re going there with the mind set of getting victory. Wining the two games will enhance our chances of getting the 2015 AFCON ticket in Morocco.
But why so confident if I may ask?
We’re the defending champions, we cannot afford not to be in Morocco next year to defend our cup. If we don’t (qualify) people will think our victory last year was a fluke. With this at the back of our minds, everyone is working hard to ensure we got the win. We have the team that can do it, we’ve put behind the last two games which did not go the way we want, some times it happens in football, we just have to move on.
That’s interesting Juwon but the match has been moved to an astro turf in Khartoum instead of the natural grass pitch in Omdurman, how will you guys cope since you’ve been so used to playing on natural grass?
That won’t be a problem, since we came into camp we’ve been training on both astro turf and natural grass. So I don’t think playing on astro pitch can stop us from achieving our target which is to get the three points in Sudan.
It appears you guys have many obstacles to contend with in Sudan because apart from the artificial pitch you also have Sudanese hot weather to contend with.
We know that by this time in Sudan the weather is always hot. But we’ve been preparing for that, don’t forget too that our (Nigeria) own weather is like hot too. We have also been training and preparing under such condition so we don’t begin to use that as reason for not winning the game.
How confident do you expect Nigerians to be for the Eagles going into Saturday’s match?
We want them to stick around us, our last two games were not good, so we want them to remain confident in us, we’ll make them happy and proud all over again. First I want to assure them we must be in Morocco next year and again we must successfully defend our trophy.
So how is your club, Ashdod, faring in the delayed Israeli league?
We’re fourth on the table with five points after three games. You know the league was delayed because of the Israel/Palestine crisis. Hapoel Be’er Sheva are on top for now.
Can Ashdod make the Euro mark at the end of the season?
Yes, we just keep working, doing what we know best how to do believing that at the end of the day our target of playing in Europe will be achieved.
Many Nigerian players are now plying their trades in Israel with your Super Eagles teammate, John Ogu being the latest arrival. What do you think his impact has been for Be’er Sheva?
First I’m happy he’s here (in Israel) with us. He’s a massive addition for Be’er Sheva, his impact has been wonderful, they are first on the league table. Though the season is still in its early stages, anyway anything can happen along the way because its a marathon league but I must confess Ogu is doing good for Be’er Sheva I must say.
Finally Juwon, how do you guys, I mean Nigerian players in Israel relate with one another?
We talk to each other all the time, we know we’re brothers and we keep the spirit all the time.
Thank you for sparing some thoughts with us and we wish you and your Super Eagles teammates victory in Sudan.
We appreciate, it will be for all Nigerians who have continued to support us all the way.