Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi recently spoke on a lot of issues on the national team’s YouTube handle. EBENEZER BAJELA monitored the interview
How will you sum up your season with Arsenal?
I have done quite well this year; I’ve been involved in a few more goals. It’s been a good season for me. For me, it’s just basically been more efficient in front of goals and finding who is making the final pass and being able to have more shots on target or shots on goal. I’ve been able to be a bit more composed.
How did you feel scoring despite Arsenal’s loss in the Europa League final?
Of course, it was a mixed emotion for me to score in the final. Though it’s a big achievement and obviously not the result I wanted, if I could trade the result for the goal obviously I would. But it’s one of those goals I will just have to cherish in my memory and to make me hungry to try and win the Europa League next season.
How can you describe your time so far in the Super Eagles?
I’ve been very blessed to be given the opportunity to play for the Super Eagles, I’m always ready to represent and play my part. I’m always hungry and eager to show and represent my country and do them proud. I have to give them credit, not just the staff but also the people out there, the fans out there, they always show me love and I really appreciate.
How did you feel scoring that goal that qualified the Eagles for last year’s World Cup?
My goal against Zambia? It was a special moment for me. The reason I say it’s special is that my family were there to support, my dad and mum were there to support. And the fact that I was able to spot them after makes it really extra special. It means a lot to me not just to send the whole nation through but to do it in front of my parents. It’s the greatest achievement for me.
How do you feel about your first AFCON?
We did well because it wasn’t an easy group to finish first. We had some good teams in there. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s been a while since we played at the AFCON but we are all going there with confidence with our heads held high. We’ve got a lot of young talents as well, so there is a lot of hope and a bright future ahead of us. We are looking forward to the AFCON.
What do you think of the Eagles group?
Everyone is always going to say on paper that we should go through, we should qualify with ease but we know it’s not going to be easy, every team is in there to try and do their best, to try and win. It’s going to be almost like a war. It’s going to be a serious battle and fight. Every game is really going to be competitive. I’m sure Madagascar and Burundi even though it’s their first appearance, are coming with a lot to prove, to show everyone why they had the chance to get into the African Cup of Nations. I think both of them finished well in their group. We know it’s not going to be easy.
What position are the Eagles targeting in Egypt?
We haven’t really discussed that as a team, we haven’t put a point on where or what we want to achieve but we all have this dream and idea that we want to win it. If you are in a competition, you want to go there and win it and bring back the trophy. That’s what we are going to do and like I said, we are confident. We are going to be working hard and hopefully can do not just do ourselves proud but make the whole nation proud as well.
How supportive has your family been so far?
If it wasn’t for my dad, mum, and even my sister, I wouldn’t be where I’m today. They know the real me more than anyone else. So, if something bad is going on, I will talk to them, if I have something good going on, I talk to them. They are always the first people; we have a group with which we communicate. Even though I’m here, unfortunately, they are not able to come but they will meet me in Egypt, we are still talking. I have always had their support. Not only that they support me, but I also support whatever they do. I am always happy to help. I have a great family and I really appreciate them.
Did Austin Okocha inspire the nutmeg skill?
I will like to take ownership of this one. Okocha, my uncle, he’s got all the skills but the nutmeg, I will say is my own. It’s something that just comes along, it’s instinct. I don’t go into the game thinking I am going to nutmeg someone. It just happens and sometimes it ‘s the easiest way for me to get past opponents.
What do you think of the individual stars in the Eagles list?
Firstly, I will like to say it’s great to have Mikel back in the squad with so much of his experience, because of what he’s done for the country, what he’s done for Chelsea especially having him in the base of the midfield. I think that’s where I will want him but I’m not too sure. He is always talking especially about my game because it’s a bit different playing in Nigeria, playing in African conditions and playing in Europe. So, he’s always there to help me and guide me when I am playing. For the players, we have a lot of stars, even though we have stars, we do work well as a team. We don’t rely on one person. We have so many players that help cover the right or left-back. The striker will always get the credit for the goals but when we attack, we attack together and defend together as well. It’s a collective performance and that’s what we focus on. That’s what I will say brought us to where we are and why we’ve been doing so well recently.
Which is the most memorable game you have played for the Eagles so far?
It’s the one against Zambia because my mum and dad were there. It is the first time my mum actually watched me abroad and in Nigeria. So that’s probably the most memorable one for me.
What’s your message to your fans?
I will just like to say thank you. I am always appreciative of the love and support they’ve always shown me, even when I’m probably not at my best, they still have my back. They are always motivating me and I will like to say, ‘thank you.’ I will always do my best, I will always give my hundred per cent to make sure I do you guys proud and hopefully, there is more history and memories to come.