Yobo to SUPER Eagles:This is your last chance

How is the mood like in the camp ahead of Sunday’s match?

The team spirit is high and we are very good. There is no distraction at the moment. We are working towards Sunday’s (today) game and everybody is feeling good.

Cote d’Ivoire had been having upper hand over Nigeria in the recent encounters and some of the matches you’d involved for the Super Eagles, the team lost the games. Are you looking at the game as a payback time?

In football there is no payback time. I think all the time I had been involved we lost to Cote d’ivoire and it’s been very close. We’ve been very unlucky as well too but credit to them. It is not a paying back time. We want to qualify for the next stage and I think winning is more important than paying back.

Going into this game, Cote d’Ivoire has been tagged as favourite while Nigeria is seen as underdog. Are you okay with this tag?

Not really, but if you put the squad they have on paper you can say that Cote d’Ivoire are favourite but football is quite different. They lost in the last edition final against Zambia when they were regarded as favourite as well. Also, Zambia as the defending champions is out of this tournament. I think they (Cote d’Ivoire) have a very strong squad and people might think we are underdog. That doesn’t put us under any pressure. We know the important of the game and we’ve qualified from the group stage and now we are in the knockout stages and we are focused. It is not about the name; it is not about the individual, it is about qualifying for the semi-final.

What is the team’s strength going to Sunday’s game and what the massage is for the Nigerians back home?

Sometimes in football, you don’t normally get what you deserve. If you are not there with good mentality or showing good spirit during the game you might not get the desire result. There are different views to our participation before we come here, some expect us to do well while some people do not have faith in the team but everybody is entitling to their opinion. Nigeria is a big nation with passion for football. We are now in the quarter-finals and what we want from them now is support. We want them to pray for us and believe in us. We don’t want to be distracted, there is much expectation and people have different opinions about the game. But after the game we will have answer to that.

You’ve been to six Africa Cup of Nation and during that time you’ve only won third position. Shall we be expecting something better than this year?

This is my six AFCON participations and I don’t believe that we’ve not been able to win. I have played with the team that was strong with big players before and we’ve never made it to the final. Now we are here to win. We are in the quarter-finals with great players. Personally, I am here to win the Cup and I want to win it because this is my sixth participations. What I can say is that I’m here to give my best. We will just try and try to win the trophy here.

What role do you think experience will play in Sunday’s game when we have some new debutants coming up against the fast experienced Ivoirians side? How confidence are you that these players are good for such big game ?

I think it is a big occasion, when I was coming up as a young player I look forward to this kind of opportunity because this is where I am going to make my name; this is where people are going to recognise me. This is what I am going to say to them and I will tell them this is the best chance for them to make their name and show the whole world what they can do. If they play against big players, it will give them the opportunity to prove themselves; if you want to move from where you are to the bigger club so the world the kind of player you are or you want to be scared. It is two things you just have to pick one and face the occasion; if you want to play well and become a better player from there or you want to be scared and ruin your career. I am going to motivate them so that everybody rises up to the occasion. It is not an occasion where nobody is going to switch off but it is an occasion where everybody is going to be present.

Working with young players, it was discovered that there was lack of communication in the game against Burkina Faso and in the Ethiopia game. What are you doing to have better communication in the game against Cote d’Ivoire?

I think they have been improving when you are talking about communication. In our last three games I’ve seen lots of improvement from young players. We’ve moved on from game after game. To be a big player doesn’t come overnight. As the coach rightly said, we’ve lots of young players coming. We are in the tournament now and they are getting better. I don’t see any differences between myself and them. We interact very well and we have best of relationship. The kind of relationship I have with them is the best I have seen since I made it into the national team. But I will also let them know that they are in the position where they will have to accept responsibility. We’ve been really working well on and off the pitch. We don’t have longer time to be together before this tournament. But, honestly we are doing well.