Enugu Rangers top scorer Chisom Egbuchulam tells Completesportsnigeria.com's SAB OSUJI that he had no doubts the Flying Antelopes would break a 32-year jinx this season…
Photo by GANIYU YUSUF:
Congratulations for helping Rangers win the league thereby ending the 32 years of trophy jinx…
Thank you, I'm very happy and we must give thanks to God for making it possible for us.
How do you feel about this great feat that has brought joy to the people of Enugu and supporters of the club across Nigeria?
I'm excited. I feel great. Its not easy, we worked so hard in the season and finally God crowned our efforts by giving us the trophy that we needed. So we bless God for everything and I feel very excited.
Before the start of the season did it cross your mind that a day like this would come, did it occur to you that Rangers will emerge victorious at the end of the season?
I must confess that it really did. Nobody gave us a chance from the beginning but we showed the whole Nigerians that we were ready to work this season and get the trophy which had eluded us for so long. For me, I can say that I saw the trophy coming and I believed in it, and we worked for for it and here we are, we got it at last so we are now champions of Nigeria and I'm proud to be a part of it.
You scored three goals in the final match against El-Kanemi Warriors which Rangers won 4-0 but you refused to celebrate the fourth goal. Instead you were in a sombre mood, why?
It was because of my teammate, Ifeanyi Egwim, that got injured in the match. Nobody expected it would end that way but God knows the best. I couldn't control myself when I saw the injury. It was so serious but I thank God that today he's getting better. That was the reason for my emotional tears.
How did you score 16 goals in a very strong and competitive league like the NPFL?
First of all, I have to give thanks to God because its Him that made it possible. He's been so faithful to me. I'm also grateful to my coach, Imama Amakapabo, who gave me the opportunity to play because I'm not the only striker in the team. if he hadn't given the shirt, I wouldn't have played and nobody would have noticed my potential so I thank God for him because he's the one behind my success. And again, I must commend my team mates, they have been very supportive to me in providing the passes through which I scored the goals. So I give them kudos for the hard work they have done this season.
What manner of reward are you expecting from the government for winning the league this year?
For me I don't know and I can't say. We're still celebrating the victory which had not been witnessed in the state for so long. I'm not expecting much from them so I just don't know and can't say too. Anything they have for us, anything they give they should prepare it for us and it is okay by me.
Can we look forward to CAF Champions League next year?
Yes, for sure.
What are your expectations when Rangers play in the Champions League next year, bearing in mind they have not won that trophy since inception?
As you can see, our team is compact, that means we can compete with any team on the continent next year. I think we're going for it all and I believe we will get the trophy, yes, it is possible.
Tell me, how did your career start?
I started off with Disdevet Academy here in Enugu. It wasn't so easy, I worked so hard and I thank God for everything for where I am now. If look back over my shoulders I know it hasn't been easy and that God has been very faithful.
Do you think your ability to score 16 goals in the season was part of the gains from your participation in the NPFL All-Star La Liga Challenge where you guys played three games with La Liga teams in Spain?
Yes, I would say it did a lot to help. Getting a call-up to the national team and travelling with the team to Spain is a big plus for my career. It really helped me a lot. When I came back I said to myself that if I can make it to this level I can still go the extra mile and impact more in my game to help my team. So I think it really helped me a lot this year.
I'm sure several clubs in Europe must have been scrambling for your signature. How do you look forward to that happening?
Yeah, for sure things like that can't be ruled out. But for now, I'm still available because I've not held talks with any team and I've not tied myself to any club out there in Europe. I'm ready to play and any club that is ready for me can call and if I see the offer and it is good, then why not? I can move.
What does it mean for you to be part of this historic Rangers team that broke the 32-year-old jinx?
It means a lot. First, I've just been in Rangers for three years and in the fourth year I won a trophy. It is not an easy achievement, it's awesome and I feel great and I thank God for everything.