Our target is to win group- Nwofor

After getting a brace against Croatia in their second game of the World Youth Championship, Nigeria's Uche Nwofor speaks with Sam Audu, the media officer of the team.

QUESTION: How do you feel coming off the bench to score two great goals against Croatia.

UCHE NWOFOR: I’m delighted to do so. I have been asked why I started from the bench, but answer is always not all the players in the squad will start the game at
the same time.
So, I’m delighted I made the most of the few minutes I was on the pitch.

QUESTION: You were the Goal King at the African Youth Championship in South Africa in May with four goals. You must certainly be disappointed not to be starting in Colombia.

At the AYC, I was starting and now that I’m no longer starting, I’m not the one to decide. It will still be the same coach.
What I believe is that any time I’m on the pitch, I have to make the most of that opportunity. That I’m no longer starting games does not mean I’m suddenly a bad player, everything depends on the plans of the coach.

Q:Which of the two goals gave you the most joy?
Both goals.

Q: Were you going for a hat-trick after the two goals?
I made a last attempt at scoring again, but I missed the target. Any striker who has scored two goals will then be looking for a third goal to make it a hat-trick.

Q: By getting a double against Croatia did you prove a point that you are good enough to start?
I believe so.

Q: You made a big difference in the game because before your goals, Croatia were staging a big fight back at 3-2.
My goals lifted our morale. By the more goals we score the less pressure it will be on our defenders. My goals made sure we put in more effort to win the game well.
What do you expect against Saudi Arabia on Saturday?
We are equal on points with Saudi Arabia but we need to beat them because our target is to win our group. I believe we will play as a unit and beat them and get an easier second round game.
The Saudis are a very sound team technically, but when we watched them in their first game against Croatia they looked a bit slow.

Q: You have watched some matches of Colombia 2011 on television. What are your impressions?
It’s a tough tournament because the level is high and it won’t be easy for any team. The teams from Europe, for instance, are very fast and that means we have to also step up our game.
The coach has been working hard to ensure we do better tactically.
We also need to take our chances, if we don’t, the other team would take theirs and we will pay for it.
We are working very hard to make sure we live up to expectations.

Q: Which teams have so far impressed you here in Colombia, besides of course Nigeria?
The home team Colombia. I can see the fighting spirit in them. They are really all out, they are playing like an African team with so much power to spare.

Q: How has the high altitude affected you especially your breathing during a game?
I struggled with my breathing the few minutes I was on the pitch and even had to discuss this with our team doctor. I got the same tired feeling when we are training but I was thinking it was because I’m yet to play a full game or even 45 minutes. But I’m told it has to do with the high altitude. But I believe within a short time I will adapt to this condition.

Q: Did you have an injury problem before this World Cup?
I had a little twist around my knee when we were getting ready for the tournament. But I have fully recovered, it’s just a few fears you get when you are back playing again. I’m fit now.

Q: How far can you and the Flying Eagles go in this World Cup?
By the grace of God we are aiming for the trophy. The other teams left in the competition are also dreaming same, but with God and hard work we can achieve our dream just as we did at the African Youth Championship in South Africa.

Q: Besides Nigeria and Egypt, the other teams from Africa, Mali and Cameroon, are struggling.
That’s football for you. I was surprised Mali fell behind against Colombia after getting off to a great start. I just pray for luck and favour for Africa to be well represented to forge ahead.

Q: Where does your future lie after the World Cup?
I have been approached by many clubs and agents but at this moment my focus is on the World cup here in Colombia. After the World Cup, we will all know where I will be going to.
But most certainly you will be leaving Enugu Rangers for Europe.
I believe so.

Q:Thank you Uche.
You are welcome.
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