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Stoke City forward, Osaze Odemwingie, Saturday night ended Nigeria’s 16 years wait for a World Cup victory with his winner against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The last time Nigeria won a match at the Mundial was Victor Ikpeba’s lone strike against Bulgaria that booked a second round ticket for Eagles at France ’98. Ever since, it has been draws and defeats up till last Saturday.
But Odemwingie who returned to the Super Eagles fold after been frozen out for close to two years, rekindled Nigeria’s hope of making it into the second round with his first half strike against his Stoke City team-mate, Asmir Begovic, in goal for Bosnia.
Speaking shortly after the match, a very happy Odemwingie told THISDAY that he was thrilled getting the match winning goal. He however refused to take credit alone but instead attributed it to team work.
“Because of the happiness and the mood of everybody over the victory, I have even forgotten that I scored,” he said. “The victory was down to 90 minutes of concentration and effort from my team-mates. The most important thing today was the character shown by my team mates. We even enjoyed defending together,” observed the former Bendel Insurance FC of Benin forward who resorted to playing in the right-back role in the dying minutes of the Group F game in Cuaiba.
Asked how he felt scoring this important redemption goal for Nigeria, Odemwingie flashed his toothy smile, then said:”I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Nigeria.
Playing for my fatherland is an honour and a pleasure. I didn’t expect to come back (from Eagles exile) and score a winner in such an important game, but I’m very happy. Right now I’m so high on our team’s performance.”
He however admitted that it was a difficult match despite the fact that Nigeria was on the offensive almost all the time.
“Today, right from Vincent Enyeama to the defenders and those of us from the midfield to the forward, the concentration was good. We had to work very hard for this (victory) because they (Bosnia) are a quality team with the likes of Edin Dzeko and other fantastic players. We had excellent team spirit.
“It was very difficult getting the goal but there was no option than to bounce back after a poor performance in the first game.
“The weather was difficult it was very difficult to play under the weather but we have to stay in there and fight it out to get three points.
“It was very important to win and henceforth we are looking forward get points that will get us through to the second round and after that you know anything can happen because we are inspired,”
Content Credit: Thisday Newspaper