Super Eagles defender Olisa Ndah is grateful for the belief that head coach Augustine Eguavoen has in him after making his Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) debut for Nigeria in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau.
The lanky defender was a 77th minute replacement for Tyrone Ebuehi (who was equally making his AFCON debut for the West African giants).
Ndah, on the eve of his 24th birthday put up a solid display despite playing in a largely unfamiliar right back position. Ndah expressed his delight to www.aclsports.com after the game.
“I’m happy for the opportunity. I’m glad and anywhere I’m called up to play, I’ll play for the national team and even at my clubside so I’m really happy for the opportunity,” says Ndah, a son of former footballer Ndubuisi Ndah.
Asked what was going through his mind before entering into the fray, the former Akwa United and Remo Stars defender said Eguavoen just told him to do the basics.
“Nothing really (was on my mind),” replied Ndah.
“The coach just told me to do the basics and I know all the movements so he just told me to do the basics and he trusts me so I should go in and do my best.”
Before Wednesday night, Ndah already had three caps for Nigeria’s senior national team; but they all came while he was playing for the home based selection.
This was however his first time with the mainstream side, an experience he has thoroughly enjoyed since turning up for camp in Abuja, late December.
“It’s been so much fun, they’re really nice guys. They’ve supported me a lot, even when I was called up to play, all of them cheered me up and all so I’m really happy to be here.”
Ndah who was a league winner with Akwa United in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) last season ends with a confident disposition that no team can match the Nigerian team at the moment.
“With the confidence and the way we are playing right now, I think we can go all the way (to win the trophy). I don’t see any team right now that can match us. We have been doing extremely well and we’re just happy,” says Ndah.
Eguavoen was able to achieve a sporting aim of ensuring that all outfield players in the Nigerian team featured in the group stage of the competition. Up next for the Super Eagles is a round of 16 encounter on Sunday.
Fisayo Dairo, reporting from Garoua, Cameroon