Nigeria and Watford striker Odion Ighalo in this interview with Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD reveals reasons why Super Eagles struggled to beat Swaziland and promises to give Manchester United a tough time on Saturday…
Two games no goals for you but the Super Eagles qualified for the third round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. How does this feat make you feel?
Firstly, I give thanks to God that we qualified against a tough team like Swaziland. It was not an easy round because we played against a side that deployed more bodies in defence.
They gave us a good fight. The first leg was on an artificial turf which affected the way we played and also the flood lights were not bright enough for us to play with.
There were other unpleasant conditions but I’m happy we have qualified and I’m looking forward to the draws.
As regards the goals, I wasn’t too happy because I didn’t get to score but the fact that the team won is great. I worked hard for the team but the goals didn’t come but I was glad that the coach was pleased with my performances in the two games.
I helped my team keep the ball and gave everything to score. I know many expect me to score just like I do for my team in England but most times it doesn’t work that way.
I know the goals will still come because I am working hard to maintain that form of scoring in every game. To my fans, I’m sorry I didn’t score.
Now that Nigeria have qualified and might not be seeded in the group stage draw, are you scared of they may be drawn against the likes of Cote d’Ivoire Cameroun, Ghana and South Africa in the group phase of the 2018 World Cup?
We are not scared of any team and won’t underrate any team as well. In Africa there are no minnows anymore; we saw what Swaziland did to us away and how Ghana were held at Comoros so the tide is changing and we will be better going ahead.
We just have to work harder and keep to the tactics of our coach. With Sunday Oliseh’s tactical acumen we can face any team. I don’t prefer any team I just pray for a favourable draw because the aim is to qualify for the World Cup.
This weekend, your team Watford, 11th in the English Premier League table, host Manchester United at Vicarage Road. United may likely be without some of the top players like Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling and the rest. What are your chances?
Manchester United are a big team in England and one of the biggest sides in world club football. Against them it won’t be easy and that’s why Watford have been pushing hard to stay in the league.
Going into the game we are the underdogs and they will be difficult to beat but we will give it our very best to win and stay up on the log as long as we can. Nobody can predict the outcome but they will get a good fight on Saturday.
Lastly, what do you make of coach Sunday Oliseh?
He is a strict coach and one that knows what he wants from his team. Since my first encounter with him he has never changed.
He doesn’t want to know where you play for so long as you give him what he wants on the pitch and he’s not scared to throw you out when you’re not performing.
I think that those were few of the reasons he was appointed. In a nutshell, he’s a strict professional and a disciplinarian.