Onuachu: Playing in Empty Stadium Will Not Stop Nigeria from Winning

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By Duro Ikhazuagbe

QUESTION: Nigeria will play against Sierra Leone without the fans at the stadium. What are you looking forward to?

ONUACHU: We all know that football without the fans is incomplete. We all play for the fans but nevertheless, we have to go unto the pitch to do our jobs and win for the people who are at home watching. We just have to go out there to fight and win the game (against Sierra Leone).

Strikers are always under pressure to score goals. Since you score that beautiful goal against Egypt in your debut for Super Eagles in Asaba, everyone has been waiting to see you score again. How long are we going to wait?

Well, a footballer’s life is full of ups and down but you have to try to find your balance, you know. For me, I have to just keep working hard and keep fighting to be part of the team and whenever I’m part of the team, I will always do my best to score for the country. But if it is not coming yet, I can’t really do anything about it than to keep working hard and keep helping the team to win, that’s the most important.

How do you think playing without the fans will affect the Super Eagles performance?

Of course, in Nigeria we are used to playing with the fans, you know. With the music – the singing and dancing – it’s all about the beauty and the fun of the game. But we’ve been playing games at our various clubs without the fans for some time now and we are getting used to it somehow. I think we just have to bring the same character out for the national team and play to our best because we know our fans back home will be watching on television. So without the fans, we just have to play and win to make the country proud.

You’re doing well and have scored about 9 goals for your KRC Genk back in Belgium. Why is it that you struggle to replicate such form for the national team?

In my club, I play with people who know and understand my strength, you know. They know that Paul is good in the box 18 and when they have the opportunity, they cross the ball for me to score. I think that’s what I’m going to say is the little bit of difference from my club and the national team where we play a different pattern. In the national team, our wingers are very skillful, they dribble and cut inside to attack and other things. I think we just have to work on playing more together and to develop a better understanding to get the best out of everybody.