Super Eagles defender, Efe Ambrose
Super Eagles defender, Efe Ambrose, has said that after conquering the continent at the just concluded 29th Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa lass Sunday, Nigeria’s next focus is to qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
The Super Eagles are on top of a qualifying group that has Malawi, Namibia and Kenya with four points. Nigeria will host bottom team Kenya in June in continuation of the qualifying series.
But the versatile defender, who did not return to Nigeria to be part of the Presidential Reception for the team on Tuesday night in Abuja feature for his Scottish club same evening in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 game against Juventus which they lost 3-0.
He revealed to MTNFootball.com that the Super Eagles were fired to win the AFCON after they were not given a chance.
The Glasgow Celtic defender, who was named as the best right back of the tournament, said in this interview that unity, determination and zeal to make history galvanised them to be crowned African champions.
Congratulations on being crowned an African champion?
How does it feel being an African champion?
It is a great feeling, I am on top of the world and give God the glory for making it happen. We are worthy champions because we worked for it.
Nobody gave the Super Eagles any chance to win the trophy, what was the magic for the team?
Honestly, we were seen as underdogs before the competition started. Many believed Cote d’Ivoire or Ghana will win the title and I believe that is one of the reasons why we are now champions of Africa.
How do you mean?
You know we were not under pressure as people were not expecting us to win, that made us to be determined to write our name in gold, work harder and make Nigeria proud. I thank God he made it happen for us. We worked hard and believe in God.
Who would you dedicate the victory in South Africa to?
I dedicate the victory to God who has crowned my efforts and that of the team. I also dedicate it to my family and all Nigerians who stood by us while the competition lasted.
Who influenced you the most in the team?
Everyone did his best to achieve this. We are one big family. We talked to ourselves and played for ourselves on the pitch.
You were named the best right back at the tournament, how do you feel about this?
I give God all the glory for giving me the strength to do well. It is not only me, but it happened due to the contributions of my teammates who did well on the field to make my job easier. The coach too did a great job on me and the team. Above all, I thank all the fans and supporters who prayed for me and the team while the tournament lasted.
After winning the AFCON, what is your next target?
That is the Brazil 2014 World Cup. We have qualifiers by next month and so I want to do my best and help Nigeria qualify for that.
What of the FIFA Confederations Cup, which will take place in Brazil in June?
It will be a big tournament too where we will fly Africa’s flag. I am looking forward to that too, but the World Cup is the main target for me. That is the biggest stage.
What is your message to the fans?
I thank them all for supporting us, and we will keep doing well so as not to disappoint them.