OBIEFULE: KESHI ‘LL QUALIFY NIGERIA FOR WORLD CUP
Posted: Jun 22, 2012
Mosta FC of Malta top scorer last season, Obinna Obiefule, believes that judging by the Super Eagles results in the last three games, Nigeria will make it to the 2013 ANC and the 2014 W/Cup. In this interview with JAMES AGBEREBI, he also says he is waiting for his Eagles time to come
What’s your feeling about Nigerian football at the moment?
I think Nigerian football is improving compared to what has happened in the past. A lot of players are beginning to get the opportunity to play for the Super Eagles, which is a good thing because it brings more competition in the team and also gives the coaches options to pick from. I believe Nigerian football is on the right path again.
Let’s talk about your achievement in your club in Malta last season, I mean winning the top scorer’s award, how do you feel?
I feel really good. The season was good for me, though it wasn’t easy, but I thank God that I emerged as the highest goal scorer for my club and also the all time goal scorer with 34 goals in a season. Right now, I am like a hero in Malta and I hope I surpass that come next season.
How would you react to the death of former Nigeria all-time goal scorer Rashidi Yekini, who passed on recently?
Honestly, when I heard about it, I felt so sad because this was someone who brought smiles to the faces of many Nigerians. He was one of the finest players to ever come out of Nigeria, and I could remember that when I was young, he was one person I always looked up to for inspiration. I must confess that his death is not only a big loss to his family but to the whole of Nigeria, and I hope that the federal government will not forget his family.
Nigeria is grouped alongside Namibia, Malawi and Kenya, for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, what do you think are our chances in this group?
I believe the Super Eagles will qualify from this group because compared to these other teams, I think we have the players who can do it. I see us topping the group provided the team prepares adequately well because as we all know, there are no small teams again, but I am confident we will qualify.
Which of the teams do you think can cause an upset in this group?
In football, upset can come from anywhere and at anytime, that’s football. Nobody gave Zambia a chance during the last Africa Cup of Nations, especially when countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Tunisia, Morocco were present, but they went all the way to the final- beating the likes of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on their way to winning the title. So that’s football, anything can happen. I am so sure that Nigeria will make it.
How would you describe Coach Stephen Keshi who took over the team last year?
He is a very good coach and I think the NFF did the right thing by appointing him. I believe he is going to succeed because he is a very experienced coach who has played to the highest level. I could recall when the league was still on, he always keep in touch with me and other Nigerian players abroad despite the fact that we are not part of the present Super Eagles squad. I trust in his ability, he will do well.
What would be your advice to him?
My advice to coach Stephen Keshi is that he should always invite players based on merit, I mean on current form and not on sentiment. Like I said, I believe he will succeed because he has seen it all, played for the national team and he was at a point an assistant coach of the senior
national team. So with this, I think he will make it.
What would you say about the rebuilding process of the Super Eagles?
It is something good. At least, he is giving young players the opportunity to show what they can do. I think it is a good idea because it will give room for competition in the team which will make the team stronger. To me, it is a welcome development.
It is the dream of every football player to play for their national team. When should we be expecting to see you in the national team?
I believe that in life, everything is about time and my time will surely come and when it comes, I will grab it with both hands.
How would you rate Nigerian players at the concluded season?
I think Nigerian players did very well for their club-sides last season. Their performance overall was encouraging as they are beginning to find their feet, unlike in previous seasons when you hardly hear about the exploits of Nigerian players. So, I think they did really well this time around.
Who can you pick as the most outstanding Nigerian player last season in Europe?
For me, I will say Mikel Obi. He was outstanding for Chelsea in the league, the FA Cup and most especially the Champions League. Mikel is an exceptional player with great ability, a hard working player whose achievement is not only for Chelsea but for the whole Nigeria. Aside from Mikel, I think Osaze did well also, and not forgetting Emmanuel Emenike in Russia.
What are your plans for next season?
My plans are big, because I am looking forward to play in a bigger club. Already, clubs from Hungary, Russia, Turkey are making enquiries about me, but I am still waiting because there is nothing concrete yet. But I am hopeful that before the end of June, something positive will emerge.
What are your thoughts and words for your numerous fans both at home and abroad?
I would like to say a big thank you to them. I cannot thank them enough, but I really appreciate all the support and prayers I have been getting and I am promising them that they should be expecting more from me because my best is yet to come.
Thank you for talking to us.
It’s my pleasure.
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