AMBROSE: GHANA, CIV ARE NO THREAT TO EAGLES
Posted: Oct 18, 2012
Super Eagles star, Efe Ambrose, says Ghana and Ivory Coast will not be stumbling blocks in Nigeria’s way to winning the 2013 African Cup of Nations. In this exclusive interview with BAMIDELE BOLUWAJI, the Celtic FC of Scotland player says he will be available for the African showpiece in South Africa
Having scored Nigeria’s first goal in the 6-1 victory over Liberia, how do you feel and what does that goal mean to you as a player?
It was a moment of joy for me scoring for Nigeria in such a crucial match, I feel happy and glad as a Super Eagles player. We discussed before the match that the only thing that can help us was for us not to allow the Liberians to score against us and when the match started, God used me to score the first goal. I felt very happy and I can tell you that the goal demoralized them because they did not know that it was going to come early and we capitalized on it to score more. Personally, it was a good goal for me and I am happy to score the first goal.
But how would you rate the Liberians in the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifier?
I won’t say the Liberians were easy because they also wanted to be at the Nations Cup but the 2-2 draw we played in the Monrovia was very painful and we saw the last qualifying match as the only way we can pay them back and we went for it and got it. The fact that we beat them 6-1 does not mean that they were not strong, even after the first two goals we scored, they were still very strong and searching for goals as well but we had told ourselves before the match that we were going to fight till the end of the game. I don’t really believe that there is still minnow in football again because everyone wants to be at the Nations Cup and the World Cup.
But did you know that the Super Eagles were going to score up to six goals in the encounter?
No, but one thing I was sure of was that were going to win because if you had watched our trainings before the match, you would have seen the spirit in us. Everybody was like killing the Liberians after the 2-2 draw we played in the country, so we went out with everything in us to get the victory.
What does the Nations Cup ticket mean to you as a player?
It means a lot to me because we did not qualify for the last edition. I am sure everybody is happy and when I return to my club, the Nations Cup ticket will also earn me some respect. Playing at the Nations Cup will also help me to learn a lot more about African football and even make me a better player, so it is a great moment for me seeing Nigeria qualifying for the Nations Cup.
Would you say the ticket has erased the disappointment of the 2012 edition which Nigeria failed to attend?
Yes, it has erased it but we still need to do a lot more to make Nigerians happy because they are always there to support us and the only way we can compensate them is to keep doing well. Nigerians love football and I was really encouraged when I saw the large crowd that came out to watch the match, they are wonderful people.
You said the Super Eagles need to do more to make Nigerians happy, how do you intend to achieve that?
We can achieve that by doing well in every match we play. If we can win 6-1 in a match, I will say it is an improvement in the team and for more to come, we need to work harder.
But were you really afraid before the match or were you under any pressure before the game?
I was not afraid but I was focused because I knew that it was a match we must win and we worked really hard for it. But when you talk about pressure, I will say no. They were rather under pressure because we almost beat them in their country before the match ended in a draw. So, we had a good game and I am happy to be part of the team.
Now that Nigeria has qualified for the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa, what are you looking forward to?
We are looking forward to a better performance at the Nations Cup with the hope of going there to win the tournament. I strongly believe that we have a team that can win it and we are going to make sure that we do our best to win the trophy.
Do you think the Super Eagles can make it where you have Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Zambia at the Nations Cup?
Everybody is there to play and win. We are not concerned about them, our target is that we are going to South Africa to win and we will give our best to make it happen and we are not going to allow anything to distract our focus. The players are well determined to go there and win and with the support of Nigerians, we are not going to disappoint. Either Cote d’Ivoire or Ghana, we are not afraid of any of them. We are going there to play our game and by the grace of God, we will do our best.
After the Nations Cup ticket, what is your next target as a Super Eagles player?
We are still in the race for the World Cup, in fact we are topping our group and we want to maintain that position. We have not done badly in the World Cup qualifiers as well but we can do better because the result against Liberia and the Nations Cup ticket will go a long way in helping us to improve.
Personally, what do you look forward to at the Nations Cup?
I look forward to doing well at the World Cup, score more goals and play at the World Cup as well. As a young player, it will be a dream comes true for me winning the Nations Cup for Nigeria.
Let’s talk about your career at Celtic FC of Scotland, how has the experience been like since you arrived there?
It has been a wonderful experience for me because all the officials and players gave me their support and that really helped me to settle down on time. So I have been enjoying myself since I arrived in Scotland and I am going to make sure that I do my best.
How do you see the Scottish League?
It is a good league because there are lots of national team players there and the fact that the Champions League is a big tournament, the players are working hard to be part of the tournament.
You have another Nigerian in the Club, Rabiu Ibrahim, how do you relate with each other since you arrived there?
We relate very well, though I met him in the club but we are brothers and we are always together.
Finally, what message do you have for your fans?
My message is that they should keep supporting us because we will do our best to improve on all we have done.
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