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ECHIEJILE: ‘EAGLES ARE THE TEAM TO BEAT’

ECHIEJILE: ‘EAGLES ARE THE TEAM TO BEAT’

–FC Monaco’s new Nigerian star, Elderson Echiejile sounds AFCON 2015 warning…

Elderson Echiejile missed the 2014 World Cup in Brazil owing to an injury he sustained during the run on to the Mundial, but now the outstanding left-back is on top of his game as he expresses his desire to prove this in the forthcoming Nations Cup qualifiers…

RECALL TO SUPER EAGLES
It is a happy moment for me especially if you consider the way I missed out of Brazil 2014 World Cup. The injury came when I least expected  it but in life things like such happen and all you just have to  do is accept it in good faith.  I was filled with joy when I was informed that I made the list for AFCON 2015 qualifier. I just can’t wait to hit Calabar for that game, I feel  very  happy to return to Super Eagles.

 EXPECTATION FOR THE NEW SEASON WITH MONACO
The expectations  of the club chiefs and fans alike are very high. After last season’s  disappointment of not winning the league, it has been said that all hands must be on deck this season to set the pace if really we want to dethrone PSG. The fans are expecting a lot from us after our first game which we lost. The players too are not leaving any stone unturned to ensure we hit the pinnacle of Ligue 1  this season, ahead of our rivals and that will require lots of hard work and sacrifice, which I can confidently say here that we the players are ready to put in.

BATTLE FOR FIRST TEAM PLACE
It has been a tough one but I had that in mind before I opted to join. I am a man who loves fresh challenges and I was not moved by the level of competition  here. I knew I just have to keep working hard day after day if I really want to tie down  a regular shirt in the team. No team is easy at all, every player wants  to play week in, week out. The injury kept me back for awhile but I am fit as fiddle and ready to give my best to Monaco this season. I am ready for Monaco’s  challenge this season.

MONACO VS PSG RIVALRY
Yeah, I strongly believe Monaco has got the right mix of players that can really give PSG a good run for their money. A lot really happened last season and we dropped valuable points where we shouldn’t have. That really affected the team and PSG went on to win the league. It is another season, we have resolved to start the real fight right from the beginning rather than wait till when the title will be out of reach.

RADAMEL FALCAO’S INFLUENCE ON THE CLUB
Honestly, Radamel is such a nice guy to be with. As you know; Monaco is a collection of foreign players and this has really pushed the players beyond limit. Radamel is like a big figure in the club and with him around,  everybody just wants to do well. It is such a huge privilege to have been around such a great player like Radamel  Falcao and some other stars. It has given me the courage to work harder and push my effort beyond limit.

MONACO SUPPORT FOR HIM AND RADAMEL DURING BRAZIL 2014
Of course I and Radamel were injured and could not play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But I was highly impressed with the way the club kept in touch with both of us with frequent calls and words of encouragement. They put calls to us and said ‘Don’t worry, all will be well ‘’. I got several support from teammates who called me while others  sent me messages. That was good.

VICTOR IKPEBA’S LEGACIES AT MONACO
Yeah! He (Ikpeba) is not a forgotten name here and his legacies still linger. People tend to mention his name here and that is very  good for Nigeria and also for someone like me. People still remember how he changed this club’s  fortunes  in his days and they have always encouraged me to continue from where he stopped,  I think that is good for me.

AFCON 2015 CHANCES
Our chances are bright but things won’t be easy at all considering the rate at which African football is growing daily. Usually in the past, we used to have an easy ride in the qualifiers but these days things have changed and lots of surprises await any side in Africa. We really have to prepare well and do our homework. We have to be alive and be ready to face any opposition knowing fully well that as defending champions; things would be pretty tough because we are the team everyone wants to beat.

ANY REGRETS FOR MISSING OUT OF BRAZIL 2014 WORLD CUP?
Every player want to play at the big stage like the World Cup but when fate tends  to take its place we just have to accept that. It was painful missing out of Brazil 2014 World Cup,  but the guys that went did very well and gave their all too. It was painful to have missed it but I have got no regret at all. It wasn’t my fault and nobody’s too. I did all that was expected of me and I must thank the coaching staff, team doctors and my colleagues too who stood by me and gave me all the right back up to ensure I got to Brazil, but the injury just took its toll.

FINALLY
I just want to commiserate with NFF over the fire that gutted the Glass House earlier this week. Thank God no life was lost. I pray we don’t experience such again. I want to thank Nigerians for their support and I want to assure them that I am back and better ready to serve my fatherland.

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