Femi Solaja in Cairo
Super Eagles winger, Samuel Chukwueze, who was voted Man of the Match in the 2-1 win against South Africa last night has said that he is delighted that Nigeria won the match and progressed into the semi final.
The FC Villarreal of Spain dashing winger was in Coach Gernot Rohr’s starting line up and scored the opening goal for Nigeria in the 27th minute off an Alex Iwobi pass from the left flank.
“I’m delighted to have won with my team (Nigeria). It is great most especially coming at my debut on the big stage for the national team. It doesn’t matter whether I scored or played well, most important thing is winning with the Super Eagles.
“We are looking forward to the next match which I know will not be easy for a take,” gushed the Villarreal player at the post match conference inside the Cairo International Stadium last night.
Chukwueze has been fans’ favourite here in Egypt based on his exploits in the Spanish Laliga last season but was not considered in Coach Gernot Rohr’s starting line up in previous matches.
After the match against Cameroon, the coach said that he refused to be tempted to use Chukwueze because he needed a backup for Ola Aina to counter Cameroon’s Christian Bassogog.
However, with result at 1-2 against Nigeria at interval, the coach introduced Chukwueze in the second half and his moves resulted in two quick goals that gave Nigeria a massive 3-2 win to progress to last night’s quarter final clash with the South Africans.
But Chukwueze dismissed insinuations that he was not happy not starting in the previous games.
“It is not my duty to complain about the coach’s match plan whether I start the game or from the bench what is important is that Nigeria is the biggest winner and that is what our team stands for as we continue to take our matches one after the other.
He said he was happy opting to play for the senior national team instead of the Under-20 Flying Eagles.
“It was a good decision that I opted out of the FIFA U-20 finals few months ago to take a big shot at the AFCON. I am happy that I took the right decision and moving forward from here is to ensure that I don’t lose focus,” he explained.