Man-of-the-match in Nigeria’s quarterfinals encounter with South Africa Samuel Chukwueze has expressed his excitement for scoring his first goal for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Super Eagles booked their place in the semi-finals of the AFCON tournament in Egypt with an 88th minute goal by William Troost-Ekong.
The goal ensured a 2-1 victory for Nigeria over South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in their quarter-final match at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday.
Chukwueze had put the Eagles in front in the 27th minute when an Alex Iwobi square play into the dangerous area found Chukwueze.
The Villarreal player’s first shot was luckily deflected onto his path for a simple rebound to give the Eagles the deserved lead.
“I am so happy to have won the man-of-the-match. It wasn’t an easy game for us but we won at the end of the day,” Chukwueze told reporters at a post-match interview.
“I really appreciate this award because it is a dream come true for me at this stage as this is my first major tournament with the Super Eagles.
“It is also my first goal for my country and to do it against South Africa makes it even more interesting as it is not easy to score against them.
“At this big stage in every competition you need to keep your head down and work very hard to score this kind of goal and when it came I was so elated.
“I couldn’t imagine myself scoring that kind of goal in a major competition. It was an amazing feeling.”
He acknowledged that the advice he got from some of the old and experienced players in the team gave him the impetus to put up a good performance.
“Ahmed Musa and Mikel Obi told me before the game to give my best on the pitch and do what I know how to do best.
“They also encouraged me to stay focused and not be distracted or afraid of anything or anyone on the pitch of play and I promised them to do my best.”