Super Eagles fringe star, Sylvester Igboun speaks to Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD exclusively, about life as FC UFA of Russia player. The speedy forward also talks about his ambition to get a recall to Nigeria squad and possibly going all the way to play at Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. Excerpts…
2016 was not too good for you in terms of goals in the first half of the season in the Russian League as a striker. You scored two goals in 18 games in all competitions. Are you satisfied with your performances for FC UFA so far?
Well, I think it has been a very great season for me. I had a fantastic season, and everything went well for everybody. UFA used to be a team that struggle at the bottom of the league, but in this season, I think we did very well. We stay in the position where we think we deserve to be, I think we have to give the coach the credit because he is a very good coach and God has rewarded him for the good job he has done. All I can say is that it has been a good season and I thank God for everything, for injury free. Everything went well and I hope I can continue like that in January.
What are your primary targets in 2017?
I just want to do better than I did last season. I am doing great in Russia, but I can do more. I want to work on how am going to do more. I believe 2017 is going to be a
great year for me.
You did not feature for the Super Eagles in 2016. will a return to the national team be one of your immediate plans this year?
It sounds somehow when you mentioned Super Eagles. We both know what happens in Super Eagles. There is no further comment. I'm not going to say much. I wish them the best because if I get the chance I will definitely come and represent my country. I always want to represent Nigeria. I want to play for the country, but we all know the politics surrounding players selections, but the most important thing is that I'm doing well for my team and when another chance comes, I will take it, but if doesn't come, its part of life.
The January winter transfer window is still open and we've read so many rumours that you will be dumping UFA for a new team this month? Where are you heading to this time around?
It's not really clear now because the offer hasn't been tabled, but talks are ongoing, and that's the honest truth. But if the deal fall through, I will continue to enjoy my football at UFA which so far has been perfect.
Russia is a much colder region than Denmark where you stayed over a decade when you started your career in Europe. Did you struggle to adapt to the environment in Moscow?
Russia is now like my home unlike when I first joined UFA at the start of last season. Let me tell you a secret: because of the lifestyle in Russia, I actually tried to force a move away from the club in January last year.
Was it for football reasons or weather?
The weather was a reason as well too, but I wasn’t thinking about that much then. It was just down to the lifestyle, where they don’t speak English. Aside from playing
football, I don't do anything.
Were you hoping to be engaged in other activities?
Not that, but the boredom almost ripped me apart until I started having friends in the city. The environment where I stayed then was too quiet and too private. It is like when you are in the prison. But when I tried to force an exit, a meeting with the Club President and the coach changed my perception about Russia. Now there are more blacks in the team. I entertain my friends and also I visit them as well. I think am enjoying Russia a bit because I'm starting to get used to the lifestyle, visiting Moscow regularly and the fact that I can bring my people from Africa to come and stay with me. If I have any opportunity, believe me, I want to end my career in Russia.
How will you compare the quality of the Danish league and the Russian League?
Russian league is run more professionally than the Danish league. I remember when I had my holidays in December, I travelled to Denmark to visit my family and from there I went to my old club to watch their training, and I was shocked that the standard had dropped unlike in Russia where you have to fight so hard against more experienced players to get into the team and keep your place. The Russian league have more fans attendance and big stadia where games are played. The Russian league is more tactical and its competitiveness is higher thanthat of the Danish League. So far, I have improved technically.
The 2018 World Cup will be hosted by Russia. Aren't you ambitious of playing in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup?
Of course, the hallmark of any player is to represent his country in a major tournament like the FIFA senior World Cup. If I get a chance I will gladly take it. The buildup is amazing in Russia, and missing out if Nigeria qualifies will be difficult to watch from home.
Tell us more about the buildup to the 2018 World Cuo as you have seen it in Russia?
There is so much awareness now for the FIFA Confederations Cup. Tickets are selling fast and the host cities for the competition – Kazan, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi are magnificent. You just have to be there to see it and know it. The hype is so much.
Looking at you footballing career so far, are you satisfied with the level you are in now?
I can never be satisfied. Nobody get satisfied. I always want to learn. Cristiano Ronaldo won every award and title in 2016, but he is still eager to develop his game just as Lionel Messi wants to. So who am I? We all want to learn, no matter what happens. If I score 20 goals in a season, I will always want to work harder to score 22 goals in the next season and 25 goals in the next season. So am not satisfied, am still hungry.