Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel midfielder, John Ugochukwu Ogu (Suker) has declared that the array of young players in Nigeria’s squad to this year’s World Cup will boost the Super Eagles’ hopes of shocking the global soccer showpiece.
The former Academica de Coimbra of Portugal star declared in this interview with scorenigeria.com.ng that the Eagles have the right quality and mentality to go all the way at Russia 2018, where he also hopes to personally do well, in order to seal a transfer to England.
SCORENIGERIA: Do you think playing at the World Cup with Nigeria will enhance a transfer away from Israel for you?
OGU: To be honest with you before I left Israel, they said something to me during an interview that I knew nothing about, they said “the president of the club said they might lose me if I did well during the World Cup and I told them ‘listen, that would depend on what she wants, if she wants me to stay then, they will have to pay’. I am just focused on the World Cup. I will just try my best to help my country do well. There is one thing about me, I am use to challenges and I know how challenging it is to play in the World Cup.
Everybody in Nigeria is looking forward to the World Cup and if I got my chance, I will do my best to help my country because I am fit and I will fight hard on the pitch.
What are your initial thoughts on the World Cup?
Like the captain (Mikel Obi) has said, we have a very young team, so many young players are there, but for me, I always believe that if you do the right thing on the pitch, you are bound to get a positive result.
We have the quality to win the World Cup. It’s easy to say, but it’s a different ball game when you are on the pitch.
Were you to do well at the World Cup and the opportunity came for you to move to another league in Europe, will you go or stay put at Hapoel Be’er Sheva?
Depending on the country, for example, if a small club from Portugal came for me, I won’t go. With the level I am now, I need to play in a top club in Europe. The dream is to play in England.
How do you rate your opponents in the group stage at the World Cup?
I don’t think anyone is looking down on Iceland and Croatia. As a player, I don’t think anyone in this Super Eagles camp watches football as I do. I have seen Modric and Rakitic , they play in top clubs, Madrid, Barcelona.
But I also know that because I am not playing in Madrid or Barcelona does not mean these guys are better than me. Once I am on the pitch, I am not afraid of anybody, I respect but I am not afraid of any player.
It is going to be tough, but like I said it’s a team work, if we did our job on the pitch as a team against these countries, we can upset these countries.
Iceland are a good side, we saw what they did at the last European championship, they have one of the best midfielders and strikers. Like the coach said they play in top clubs, but I don’t think anyone is afraid of any of these players.
They also are afraid of us too. It’s the World Cup and anything can happen. But like I say, if we did our job well, we will get positive results.
We are one of the youngest sides going into the World Cup, do you think inexperience could count against us in Russia?
It could, but I also think most of our players are playing in top clubs, we have Kelechi (Iheanacho) at Leicester City, (Alex) Iwobi with Arsenal, but our captain has a bundle of experience, Onazi, Elderson they have been there before, like I said before it’s all about team work, help your team, fight for your team and I believe we will do well.
• This interview was conducted by Emeka Dennar of ScoreNigeria.