Manchester City forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, has promised to do everything he can to help Nigeria qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Iheanacho, 20, who was voted the CAF 2013 Youth Player of the Year, scored his first competitive international goal against Tanzania in the qualifier for next year’s African Cup of Nations, which Nigeria will play no part in.
The Super Eagles will face Zambia in Ndola on Sunday in a World Cup qualifier and Iheanacho is confident the Nigerians will start atoning for their AFCON failure.
“It’s unfortunate we missed out on the 2017 AFCON but we are not out of everything,” Iheanacho told Cafonline.
“We have all put that behind us and our focus is on the next games. We have to take that as a lesson and come back stronger to qualify for the World Cup. I will also work hard for my country as an individual; and we are going to put in all hard work collectively as a team.
“The Zambia match an away game for us and is going to be a difficult one. “We have great players that will make the difference against Zambia. We have to overcome Zambia first before we can talk about Cameroon and Algeria. However, it’s not going to be easy and nobody knows what’s going to happen. We will keep fighting as a team to get to the World Cup.”
Iheanacho has already been impressive under new City manager Pep Guardiola, and the youngster praises the Spaniard’s impact.
“Everyone knows what Guardiola can offer, and I’m happy he came to Manchester City,” Iheanacho added.
“He’s a great coach with great qualities. Guardiola is a great manager everybody knows and I’m happy to be part of his team. I’m really improving under him and I hope to work more anytime I get the chance to play.”
When asked what be playing at the 2018 World Cup will mean to him, Iheanacho replied: “To play in the FIFA World Cup will be a dream come true for me and is going to help my career as a player too.”
The City youngster was voted the Most Valuable Player at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013 as well as the CAF Youth Player of the year award, but he insists he wants more.
“It was a great achievement for me and it helped me to improve my career as a footballer,” Iheanacho said. “I hope to work harder and win more awards.”