Celtic of Scotland and Super Eagles lanky defender, Efe Ambrose opened scoring for the Super Eagles with what was also his first goal for the team in the 6-1 drubbing of the Lone Star of Liberia at the UJ Esuene stadium Calabar in the final match of the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualification round.
The former Kaduna United star and member of the 2008 Olympic silver winning Dream Team fielded questions from Soccer Press and said he is going to score more goals for the Eagles. Efe who said he is used to scoring goals also spoke on the ‘new Super Eagles’ and life in his new club.
You scored your first goal for Super Eagles and the team went on to beat Lone Star of Liberia 6-1. How excited are you?
I lack words to express my happiness. I feel happy and great that I am the person that God used to open the door for the goals to pour in, to break the yoke of the Liberians. It is something that I just have to thank God for. He used me to break the yoke. I am just giving him all the thanks.
This is your first so should Nigerian football fans expect more goals from Efe Ambrose?
Well, I believe that this is just the starting for me. I want to keep scoring goals for my country. I am the kind of player that likes scoring. Although I am a defender, I like to score goals. I like to move upfront to score goals. It gives me joy when I score and see my team win. I believe this is just the starting. The first step is the most important. I have taken the first step so I believe the goals will start coming in from me.
But before the match did you imagine you would score a goal for the team?
I knew that one day I would score for the Super Eagles because I am used to scoring goals. Like my team mates in my club wonder why I don’t score for the national team. In my club, I score most times because I am very good with my head. I put my height to good use when I join the attack. My team mates keep asking me why I don’t move forward to score for my country. They ask why I don’t go to nod or try to score with my head. But I tell them because my coach doesn’t allow me to move up so much. He wants me to secure the defence. Luckily enough, this time, the Eagles coaches watched my club’s tapes and realized that I can also score. They therefore allowed me to go forward and try to get a goal. That was the confidence that I needed. So I thank the Eagles’ coaches for allowing me to go forward. I got the opportunity and I grabbed it.
How do you feel when you are stopped from going to join the attack? Don’t you think your coaches deprive you of the opportunity to score goals?
Well, I am never bothered because it is tactical …it is most times the game plan. I play according to instructions. For me, I am always comfortable doing the dirty job. Even if I don’t score and somebody scores and we win, I am always happy because it is the team that wins. We are just one so I have no problem but if I score, it makes me happier. Victory is what we all want. We are just like one family here. It does not matter who goes or who stays. The most important thing is victory.
The Eagles beat the Lone Star 6-1. Most football fans may say the Liberians were easy customers. What do you have to say?
Well it is not that they were not good. They are a good side. We played against them in Liberia and we saw what they played. That proved to us that they are a good side and must be handled with care. They showed they also wanted to pick the ticket. Therefore, when we returned we decided that we must work hard and pray. It is God that made it easy for us today. We just thank God for everything that happened that evening. Nobody should think that the Liberians were easy opponents.
Qualifying for the championship in South Africa is one thing and doing well at the tournament proper is another. Do you believe you and your team mates can do the country proud in South Africa?
I have no doubt in my mind that we would do well in South Africa. However, everything is just determination and hard work. I believe with the kind of talented players we have here, the technical crew led by the ‘Big Boss’, I believe we have all it takes to triumph in South Africa.
What is your candid assessment of the performance of the home-based Super Eagles?
Well for me I call them professionals because they are also professionals. Right now we are enjoying a cordial relationship. There is basically no difference between the foreign based and the home-based Eagles. We are one united family. We learn from each other and it’s been great. I believe they are getting better. The more we continue to play together …team work would set in and determination would build up. We are gradually building the appropriate team spirit and I am really happy with this. We are going to keep moving with them.
You have spoken so passionately about unity and peace in the present Eagles. Can you explain what is responsible for this positive development?
I give thanks to God and the Big Boss and the technical crew for giving us the renewed spirit. One of the most important things in life is discipline. I believe the caliber of players here are thorough professionals who are self-disciplined. That is what has helped the team to remain disciplined and united. I appreciate the coach because he is the head and he leads us by example. Keshi does not play with issues bothering on discipline and this is good for the team. He is leading us in the right direction.
You have just experienced UEFA Champions League action with Celtic. What can you say about life in your new club?
I am most grateful to God. Every time God wants to do a new thing in your life, He takes you to where He wants. He has taken me to a new challenge in my football career. I went there and I have to thank God for the way He made it to be very easy for me. Within a short time, I have been able to walk into the first eleven. And since I did, the coach welcomed me and my team mates have been fantastic. They have shown me so much love and respect. I am highly rated in Celtic.
Let me take you back to the national team. Are you one of those who believe the Eagles have found a home in Calabar?
I agree with people who say this. Calabar is made up of wonderful people. Calabar is now a home to the national team. They have been most supportive. We appreciate their support and words alone cannot explain how we feel about them. Ever since we started playing here, we have not lost a game. We thank them and appreciate their support. We thank the government for giving us the privilege to call Calabar our home. God will continue to bless this state and continue to bless Nigeria and Nigerian football fans who have always stood by us.
Ambrose, are there players you feel the coach should recall to the Super Eagles?
Well that is for the coaches to decide. For me, I am just a player