WE CAN RULE THE WORLD
Flying Eagles' Sani Emmanuel, has declared that it would only take hard luck for his side to miss out of the World Cup trophy. Emmanuel, who was on the silver-winning side at the last Under-17 World Cup, said they were battle ready for any side in their quest to break the jinx of Under-20 World Cup.
He also spoke of his life experience that led to his leaving home to live with friends to actualise his dream of playing football at the highest level.
He paid glowing tribute to Prophet T. B. Joshua, the General Overseer of Synagogue of All Nations for his fledging career.
We can win the Cup
'After a very good preparation, hard work and determination from the entire team, I believe with quality of players in the team, we stand a good chance. Our win over Guatemala was a confirmation to this fact.
'I have been training very hard to be in good shape and very fit for the tournament and by the grace of God I won't disappoint. I also sincerely pray that we win the cup this time around, and I am ready to sacrifice anything to help the team achieve this.
'Nigerians should expect that we are going to do well in Colombia. They too should not stop praying for us because prayer is the key to success. With their prayers and support, I believe things will definitely work out for us.'
Father against son's heart desire
'My father did not support me when I started playing football. In fact, I was not even living with my parents. I was actually leaving with friends because we were very poor. I shunned school for football because that was the only thing after my heart and the only thing that brought me success and happiness.
'I had no other thing in my heart other than to play football. The other sport I love is table tennis. I would have been a successful table tennis player, if not for football.'
T. B. Joshua changed my life
My life actually changed for the better when the man of God and my father in the Lord, Prophet T. B. Joshua saw me and showed interest in me, and since then, he has propelled me to where I am today.
'I will forever be grateful to him. He was instrumental to all the trials I attended before my friend, Onazi (Ogenyi) and I got contracts with SS Lazio of Italy.'
In God's hands
'After the last Under-17 World Cup outing, God has been faithful to me and everything has been good. I have been training and working hard. I have been to several trials so that I can get a team to start my football career.
'By the grace of God, I was able to go to SS Lazio in Italy in the company of my friend, Onazi Ogenyi, and they have just offered us contracts that I would say, is very good for our age and career. We have since commenced training with the club.'
Regrets missing AYC
'We got the invitation to the Africa Youth Championship (AYC) in South Africa very late. We even had some very important matches to play that time. I was eager to play in the tournament, but it wasn't possible. So, I would say that I really missed the tournament and the chance of become a champion also.'
Nigeria's toughest match at the AYC
'Actually, I didn't have the opportunity to watch all the matches, but I was able to watch the first and the final matches involving our team. I believe the final was a good game for us because we played well and won. Now, we have to work harder to achieve our ambition of winning the World Cup in Colombia.
'I have duly signed for SS Lazio but the major contract begins in the new season. I can say everything is fine.'
Nigerian teammates in Italy
'We are four and only Ayodele Makinwa was playing in the first team. He has now gone on loan, so we are three left in the club while the third person is Emeka. But with the way things are going, I believe that at least two of us will graduate to the first team by the new season.'
'I have had trials at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur of England, Young Boys of Switzerland and Panathinaikos in Greece.'
Why not in a rush
'The man of God (Prophet T. B. Joshua), who has been helping us from the beginning preferred us to train and acquire experience with the big clubs in Europe. That was why he has been sponsoring me and Onazi not for tials to secure clubs, but to train with the best and big players in the world. He wanted us to experience how the game is played in Europe first before finally joining a club there, and we have signed for Lazio.'
'I hope by the grace of God, this new season, we are waiting for the (Lazio) coach now to name his first team squad. The good thing is that I and Onazi have been training with the first team. I sincerely hope we make the grade at the end of the day.'
'The league is a very good one, but very tough. We train very hard to perform well for Lazio in the league.'