As a baby-faced 19-year-old, Kenneth Omeruo fulfilled his boyhood dream by making his international debut for Nigeria in a goalless draw with Cape Verde and has since gone on to win another 34 caps for the Super Eagles.
In Part III of Tribalfootball’s exclusive interview with Omeruo, the 25-year-old discusses his pride representing Nigeria, their young stars and chances of winning the AFCON in Egypt this year.
1) What has meant becoming a major player in Europe for your family in Nigeria?
Becoming a major player in Europe for my family is a dream come true. I have been able to take them from a situation of not having enough to a situation where they are okay. Now I am playing in Spain and my family gets to watch me every week. This is really good and it means a lot to me.
2) What was your assessment of how you did personally at the World Cup? Did your form help you land the Leganes move?
I think my form at the World Cup definitely helped. When I wasn’t picked in the first game, I didn’t give up. I kept training, stayed focused and it paid off. I came on and did fantastic in the remaining two games Nigeria played at the World Cup. I think this really helped me to move to Leganes.
3) What would your advice be to Samuel Chukwueze, of Villarreal, if a Premier League club make an offer?
If a Premier league club makes an offer for Samuel Chukwueze, of course , every player wants to play in the Premier League and it will be great for him. He should take it as long that the contract is favourable and he makes a lot of money out of it.
4) Do you see more Nigerian young players taking La Liga by storm like Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal?
Yes. I see more Nigerian young players coming to La Liga and making a mark for themselves. Chukwueze has proved it. He is young and very talented player. He is very dangerous to play against. So, I think it is possible for young Nigerian players to succeed in the La Liga.
5) What about Ola Aina? Do you think he has a chance at Chelsea or should he stay with Torino?
For Ola Aina, it is different. He has always been a Chelsea player. He grew up within the Chelsea system. He is a Chelsea kid who grew up from all the stages in the club. I think the decision is for him to make. I don’t have anything to say regarding this.
6) How did you feel the first time you wore the Super Eagles jersey and what is your most memorable experience in the national team?
Wearing the Super Eagles jersey for the first time was a dream come true. It was an unbelievable feeling and my most memorable experience was winning the AFCON 2013 and playing at the World Cup with the Super Eagles.
7) The Super Eagles won the AFCON last in 2013 and missed the following two editions, but now the team is back in the tournament . How strong is the team ahead of AFCON 2019. Can Nigeria win the tournament?
Sadly, the Super Eagles missed out on the last two editions of AFCON. I think we have what it takes to win AFCON. We have a good team, a young team. We can get to the final and even win the tournament. It is just that, we will take every game as it comes with the seriousness it deserves.