Salami, Ajiboye, Oduamadi, Babatunde Ajayi, Igboun, Odey, Others Share World Cup Stories, Back Super Eagles

Salami, Ajiboye, Oduamadi, Babatunde Ajayi, Igboun, Odey, Others Share World Cup Stories, Back Super Eagles

Completesportsnigeria.com’s SULAIMAN ALAO spoke with Nigerian football stars both home-based amd Europe-based at the 14th edition of the WGB Europe Eagles All Stars vs Dosu Joseph Academy held midweek at the RVTC Mini Stadium in Isheri Ojodu, Lagos. They share their memories of past World Cups as well as their expectations for the Russia 2018-bound Super Eagles as the final countdown begins…

DELE AJIBOYE, Plateau United, Nigeria: It’s not easy to start something like this and sustain it. I commend Dosu Joseph because it’s the 14th edition and I’ve always been part of it. I thank God for the opportunity to be in camp with Russia-bound Eagles. There is unity in the Super Eagles and captain Mikel Obi carried everyone along – it’s like a family in camp. I am now the goalkeeper on stand-by because four of us can’t go to the World Cup. I don’t feel rejected at all and it’s okay by me. We have a good team but we must pray for God’s favour and luck so that they can make us proud in Russia.

GBOLAHAN SALAMI, Irtysh Pavlodar FC, Kazakhstan: The South Africa 2010 World Cup is the one I remember very well and it inspired me as a player too. The Super Eagles players should give their best in Russia to make Nigerians proud. I have been part of the team for some time too but this is their chance and opportunity because there are lots of other players who also want to play for their country. I wish them the very best in Russia.

LUKMAN HARUNA, FK Palanga, Lithuania: I watched several clips of past World Cups but of course, the most memorable one for me was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa because I was part of the Super Eagles team to that tournament. The current Eagles squad to Russia is good but they will need luck and prayers to do well because the World Cup is always tough. I wish them the very best and will be rooting for them.

SLYVESTER IGBOUN, FC Ufa, Russia: For now, I can recollect the first edition I watched as a kid but as an adult, I have watched several clips of past editions. Nigeria’s participations are the most memorable ones for me and I try to remember the happy moments rather than the sad ones. Having played for the Super Eagles myself, I can only wish the current squad going to Russia the very best.  With hard work, prayers and luck, Nigeria can excel in Russia.

IZUNNA UZOCHUKWU, Meizhou Hakka FC, China: I can’t recollect the first World Cup I watched as a kid but as an adult, watching clips of the exploits of Jay Jay Okocha, Sunday Oliseh and other fantastic players at the World Cup was memorable. As a Super Eagles player myself, I believe we have a good team going to Russia. The boys need to stick together so that they can do well at the World Cup. They need luck and prayers too.

BABATUNDE MICHAEL, Raja Casablanca, Morocco: My most memorable World Cup was in 2014 where I played for Nigeria against Bosnia and Argentina. I never dreamt of it but I thank God and I appreciate the late Stephen Keshi for having the confidence in me that I can do it. The current Super Eagles is in a tough group but I believe we have a good team and a good coach. I pray for them to go on and to do well in Russia.

NNAMDI ODUAMADI, AC Milan, Italy: It’s good to be back home again and it’s fun playing against the Dosu Academy yearly.  As a kid, I watched France ’98 and I was a fan of the Super Eagles. I have great memories of Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo.  Watching them play motivated me and it became a dream come true when I got to play for the U-23 team and later the Super Eagles. I will be moving to another club next season where I can get more playing time which will hopefully help me to return to the national team. However, the current Super Eagles squad is good, we have a good coach too and I believe they can do well in Russia. I wish them the very best.

RAMON AZEEZ, CD Lugo, Spain: I thank God for a good season, though it was tough we ended well.  It’s good to be back home again and it is always fun playing against Dosu Academy and to be with our fans and friends. As a young boy, I loved watching Jay Jay Okocha play for Nigeria. I saw clips of Okocha at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups. That memory helped my career as I’ve gone to play for Nigeria too. The current Super Eagles is good but we must back them with prayers to do well in Russia.

JUNIOR AJAYI, Al Ahly SC, Egypt: It is good to come back home after the season to take part in a game like this. The first World Cup I watched was that of Korea/Japan 2002. The tournament left a big impression on me and one day I wish to play and represent my country at the World Cup. It was also the best tournament for me because there were lots of great stars like Ronaldinho, David Bekham, Ronaldo playing and it was great feeling watching those guys play. I think the Super Eagles can go far in Russia because we have a good squad. I wish boys the best of luck.

RASHEED OMOKAFE, Magusa Turk Gucu, Cyprus: For me, the 1994 World Cup held in USA was the best because if featured my idol, the late Rashidi Yekini playing for Nigeria. I was very impressed by the goal scored by Yekini and the way he celebrated by holding onto the net and screaming. The memory of that celebration lives on. I also love Julius Aghahowa’s goal during the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan and his back-flips celebrations. I wish the Super Eagles the best of luck in Russia and pray for an injury-free competition for the players.

STEVEN ODEY, FC Zurich, Switzerland: Personally, it’s been a good season for me abroad as we recently won the Swiss FA Cup. I can’t really recall the very first World Cup I watched as a kid. I’ve not watched many anyway and I was not yet born when Pele was playing. (Laughter).  I will say the 2010 World Cup in South African was a memorable one for me. I hope I can make history while playing for Nigeria someday.  There are good players in the Super Eagles and I wish them the very best in Russia.

ODEYINKA IBRAHIM, Fatih Belediyespor, Turkey: The World Cup edition I still remember vividly was France ’98. What stood out for me was the two goals scored by French star Zinedine Zidane against Brazil in the final. It was a memorable one for me. Every players’ dream is to play in the World Cup. It may, or may not happen but we can only hope for the best. I’ve played for the U-20 and I hope to progress  to the Super Eagles one day. We all have great expectations for the Super Eagles in Russia and I can only wish them good luck and hope they bring back the cup.

AHMED OJO, Vilaverde, Portugal:  I’ve missed Naija and I’m happy to be back home because I’ve been away for about four years now. So it’s good to see my family and friends again and it is fun to play against the Dosu Academy. As a boy, I saw clips of the 1994 World Cup and the goal Daniel Amokachi scored was a memorable one for me. I also enjoy the 2002 World Cup. I wish the Super Eagles all the best in Russia.

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