When Nigeria Super Eagles arrived Nelspruit, South Africa in January of 2013 a young Kenneth Omeruo did not think he will play that many games.
Actually, scratch that, Omeruo says: “I did not think I will make the squad when I was first invited to the Faro, Portugal pre-tournament camp”. He not only made the squad he went on to play all the matches as Nigeria won only her 3rd AFCON title.
A year later the then Ado den Haag of Holland player was one of Nigeria’s best players as the team went to take on the world at the 2014 World Cup. Now in Turkey – still on loan from Chelsea – with Kasimpasa, the centre-back spoke exclusively to www.aclsports.com in Wroclaw, where the Super Eagles are preparing for a friendly against the hosts Poland.
What will make the Russia 2018 World Cup different from Brazil? “The NFF have done incredibly well to sort out the issues of bonus and other things that could distract the players”. The tournament in Brazil was littered with African teams battling over bonuses. “If we did not have those issues I really believe we would have gone further than France. The distraction was too much and so we lost focus that is why I commend the NFF for doing this now”.
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As one of the few players in the current squad to have played at the World Cup and AFCON Omeruo is aware of the enormity of the task “The world cup is a fantastic tournament so I tell my team mates now that they have to experience it to feel it. We will give it our best in Russia, there is a determination in this group.
In a quite inexperienced squad in terms of tournaments, Kenneth Omeruo provides adequate cover for the first choice CB pairing of Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong.
There is this feeling that it was about time an African country made a proper impact at the World Cup “We have the players to be that country” Omeruo says emphatically. “When an African country wins the World Cup I expect it to be Nigeria and I want it in my time”.
More from this exclusive interview with Omeruo in the coming days