–Dolphins and Home-based Eagles striker hints at leaving Nigeria after scoring 20 League and four Federation Cup goals in the concluded season.
Dolphins FC striker Emem Edouk reveals in this interview with Completesportsnigeria.com that come next season, he will not be a player of the Port Harcourt-based side that lost to Enyimba in the final of the 2014 Federation Cup on Sunday November 23. The forward who was recently invited to the Super Eagles side also spoke about other salient issues about his promising career including the lofty dream of becoming Africa’s and the World’s best player. Eduok spoke to Izuchukwu Okosi.
Completesportsnigeria.com: Emem, would you say losing the Federation Cup final is the worst defeat you’ve suffered as a player thus far?
Yes, it is the worst defeat for me as a player so far. We didn’t win the troph that we all wanted at the club and we suffered from the beginning of the game, so I’m not happy. I wanted this Federation Cup trophy so ‘badly’ but there’s nothing we can do now, you know. We played against a very strong Enyimba side
You scored your team’s goal in the final on Sunday but do you feel you could have scored more with the chances you had in the game?
Yes, before the match, I set a target of two goals for myself but I only managed to score one eventually. I did my best. That’s football for you. I wanted to score the goals that will help us win the trophy. Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but we have to move on
Did the Enyimba first goal affect the morale of Dolphins players?
No, their goal didn’t affect our morale. We knew we were playing a good side with tradition and great pedigree so we have to take our chances when they came. I believed we could equalize. We couldn’t convert our chances, but they took theirs and scored.
Your performances in the Nigerian Premier League and the game against the U-23 side of Ghana in the friendly in Uyo makes you undoubtedly the newest sensation in Nigerian football. Has this put you under pressure to perform or has it boosted your confidence?
It has done a lot positively for me. It has boosted my confidence very much. A lot of people now look up to me to do well for my club and country. So, I’m motivated by that because I’m seen as the star of the team(s) and have to make a difference in any game I play in.
You were adjudged the Most Valueable Player of the 2014 Federation Cup. Was that enough consolation for losing the game against Enyimba?
No, it wasn’t. I wanted to score for the team and win the trophy with the club. Every other accolade was secondary to me. I thank God anyway for the goal.
Fans of Dolphins FC are scared that you might leave the club after such great performances. What is your message to your fans?
I love them, but I have to move forward because I have a family to take care of. I hope someday I will reunite with the fans and the staff of the club.
“Moving forward”, does that mean leaving Dolphins?
I scored 20 league goals plus four in the Federation Cup and the next target will be to play abroad. So yes, I want to leave Dolphins and further develop my game abroad. I don’t think I will be with Dolphins next season.
Dolphins FC have put a price tag of $ 1million on your head. Do you remain focused despite of the enormous attention you get?
They (Dolphins) are happy for me. Life and football is turn by turn…its my time and the Management know that and that is why they are happy for me. I will forever remain grateful to Dolphins FC for helping in my development as a footballer
Which of the leagues across Europe fascinate you?
The Barclays Premier League in England is the best league in the world and I would want to be one of the privileged Nigerian and African players to grace the league. They play the kind of football I like.
But you cannot play in the Barclays Premier League just yet because you have not played up to 75% of the national team’s games…you just made your debut for the Super Eagles? So you are likely to be denied a work permit just yet…
I like Norway and Turkey as well. They may not be the most glamourous leagues in the world, but they are good leagues in their own rights where a player can have playing time and build his confidence.
What’s your chances of winning a regular place in the Super Eagles?
My time will come definitely. The likes of Emmanuel Emenike, John Mikel Obi, Ikechukwu Uche, Ahmed Musa and others are experienced players who have paid their dues. I want to achieve as much as they have done for Nigeria and for their clubs in Europe, but I will be patient and work on my game and I hope to get the support of everyone to achieve this.
You have been invited to the U-23 team by coach Samson Siasia. How did you react to this latest development on hearing it?
I was excited of course. I have now made the progression from the U-20 side to the U-23 which I’m grateful to God for. I was in the Flying Eagles side that played in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, has been invited to the Super Eagles, and now, to the U-23 team.
Surely there must be interests from many clubs in your services…?
Yeah, I told my agents that I would rather concentrate on helping Dolphins with the Federation Cup assignment so maybe I will announce my next destination in few days time now that the competition has ended. Even you wouldn’t advise me to stay back in the Nigerian Premier League unless I’m made captain of Dolphins (Laughs)…
Would that be enough to make you stay?
It won’t be enough o because I have a family to take care of. I need the money o my brother, I won’t tell you lies. Besides, I want to be the best player in Africa, and even in the world. I want to move to the next level and I feel I will do that abroad.
Were you disappointed not to have played a part in the Super Eagles’ last 2015 AFCON qualifier against South Africa which ultimately culminated in Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the Nations Cup where they would have defended the title won in 2013?
No, I wasn’t because I know my time will come in the national team. Surely, I would have loved to play but the decision was the coach’s to make. It was painful not to have qualified for the Nations Cup anyway but hopefully we will learn from this sad miss and ensure that it never happens again.
Dolphins goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi said the team will miss you because you are one of the funniest characters amongst them. Will you miss them too?
(Laughs) Yeah, they encourage me a lot. I get passes from the players because they want me to score goals, they want me to succeed and I’m grateful. I have wonderful team-mates and I will miss them as well.
A lot of Dolphins players are getting married. Omo Johnson is the next in line to tie the nuptial knots. When will Emem walk down the aisle?
Next year, I hope to do my wedding next year; 2015, but that is all I can say for now. Surely you will get the invitation to the wedding (laughter).
How do you see Dolphins performing at next season’s Confederation Cup?
I hope Dolphins emerge the winners of the competition next year. A good campaign will be to win it but I wouldn’t want to see the team crash out in the early stages.
Thank you Emem for your time.