In this chat with our Group Sports Editor, Emma Jemegah, Arsenal of England attacker, Alex Iwobi said he feels relaxed when he is on duty for Nigeria. Iwobi, whose crucial goal against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, yesterday, gave the Super Eagles a ticket to the quarter-finals at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, also spoke on his role at Arsenal, Eagle’s defeat to Madagascar and Nigeria’s chance at the tournament in Egypt.
Iwobi spoke before yesterday’s match against Cameroon.
Can you assess Nigeria’s performance so far in this competition?
I believe we’ve haven’t done great, but we’ve done well. No game is easy even though people thought Madagascar should’ve been easy. Every team in the competition is difficult to come up against. Getting six points out of nine is okay and I will say we’ve done well despite the loss to Madagascar.
How would you describe the loss to Madagascar?
It was a hard one to take. They were very discipline in their approach in all the departments. I think it was a wake-up call for us, it was a sign that we take every team serious. It was something we needed to take us far in the competition.
We are meeting Cameroon in the next match; how much are you ready for the game?
We are back in training for the match. We are not afraid, we are going into the game with confidence to get good result.
Did you underrate the Madagascans?
Not at all. I don’t think we underrated any team in this competition. Maybe, we could have applied more seriousness in the game.
We still have about four matches to play if we must win this competition. Do you see the Super Eagles winning it?
Of course, any team in this competition has a chance of winning, especially with the quality of players in our team. I believe we have a great chance of winning the competition. We just have to remain focus and prepare well like every game is a battle. So, we have a chance of winning.
Two goals in three games is not a good statistics
Obviously, we’ve been working on shoot in front of goal, but it’s not easy to break down an African defence, everyone wants to fight, to defend well for their team and country. But we have a lot of attacking persons, we’ve got the thing to score more goals.
Talking about the attack, which position do you prefer to play from?
I don’t mind whichever wing the coach wants me to play. In Arsenal, I play a lot from the wings. When I was young, growing up, I played in the middle, the midfield role. So, anywhere I’m told to play, I will do my best for the team. Anywhere I’m told to play, I will be comfortable, even in the defence.
Against Cameroon, are you in anyway under pressure?
Of course not. We’ve got players playing in Europe, in some of the best leagues in the world, and we are ready. We’ve got the defenders too, whether Kenneth, Leon, Collins, Aina, we’ve got the solid back to ward off any aggression. We can withstand the physical fight, we just have to be cool and calculative.
What’s the difference playing in the national team and at the club level?
The only difference is the culture, the way the people play is different from playing in Europe. In Nigeria though, I kind of express myself a little more than when I’m in Arsenal. I like playing for Nigeria, I feel relaxed because I get the role to express myself.