Friday, 5 June 2015

Midfielder Steven Ukoh excited by Super Eagles’ quality

Steven Ukoh (l) is excited by the quality in the Nigeria side
The Swiss-based player expects to make an impact in Stephen Keshi’s new team as the squad prepares to face Chad on June 13
Steven Ukoh does not often speak to the media but when he does, he comes across as a confident young player who is looking to make a name in the game with Nigeria at the highest level.
The Biel-Bienne midfielder has been recalled to coach Stephen Keshi’s squad to face Chad in next week’s Africa Cup of Nations qualification game in Kaduna.
With the Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the last Afcon, there is eager anticipation to see Keshi’s new look side.
And Ukoh sees his part in the team as a veritable opportunity to join in returning Nigerian football back to its hallowed heights.
“I see the Super Eagles as a very big team and I feel very honoured to be here in Abuja. I think it is a very good opportunity for me and the new team the Chief Coach is building to really progress,” Ukoh told Sportmasta.
“I followed a lot of the big European leagues and I see a lot of big [Nigerian] players. I also watched Odion Ighalo in Watford. So there are a lot of Nigerian players that I know very well.”
The 23-year-old, who switched to Nigeria after playing for the Swiss youth teams, anticipates a healthy challenge for playing time under Keshi’s new tenure. He made his senior Nigeria debut against Sudan and Cote d’Ivoire in January.
“It is going to be very tough fighting for the starting shirts in this team because of the quality of players.
“Personally speaking, I can tell you now that I am sure of a starting place in the team.
“My plan is to train very well and work very hard these coming days and to show the boss what I can do here with the rest of the team.
“I am really excited and I am over the moon to be here. I am working now with the rest of the team for us to deliver the goods in Kaduna.”
While a game against Chad is expected to be a walk-over for the Super Eagles, the midfielder expressed confidence in the ability of Keshi’s side to trounce their neighbours.
“With the quality of talented players that abound in this team, I am 100 percent sure that this team will qualify for the 2017 Afcon and I hope I can play my own part in beating Chad,” he concluded.
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