It’s just been confirmed that Ahmed Musa will be joining Leicester City next season. The forward talks about playing in the Premier League, how he’s been chosen as one of three over-aged players for Rio alongside Odion Ighalo and Mikel Obi, and why CSKA Moscow didn’t perform in the UEFA Champions League.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles will again miss the next African Cup of Nations after failing to qualify, how do you feel about this?
So sad, as you’d imagine. Nigeria is a massive powerhouse in African football and whenever something like this happens, it not only negatively affect the players and our fans but the continent as well because as one sport broadcaster said, African Nations Cup without the Super Eagles isn’t as colourful and entertaining as when they are around.
We gave our all in the two ties against Egypt; it was unfortunate that it wasn’t good enough to get us through.
There was a report that replacing you with John Obi Mikel as Eagles captain by manager Samson Siasia prior to the Egypt ties caused some disaffection in the team’s spirit and was a factor in Nigeria’s inability to secure a win in the vital two games?
That’s not true, collecting the armband from me was never an issue. When Coach Siasia met me on the issue and why he felt Mikel should lead the team, I understood his points of view and I feel we are all here to work together and make sure the team wins. Not being the skipper doesn’t take away anything from me.
For some people to now attribute a non-existing issue as a factor in our defeat is ridiculous.
At the press conference we had in Kaduna before the Egypt game, I explained to reporters at that time why we should join hands together and support our new captain, Mikel.
So for some people to now attribute a non-existing issue as a factor in our defeat is ridiculous.
The Nigeria Football Federation will any moment from now announce a new manager for the Super Eagles and there are divergent views on the issue, with some Nigerians preferring an indigenous coach to a foreign one. What are your thoughts on that?
I wouldn’t want to comment on that deeply at this time, but personally I feel whoever comes in at the end of the day will be here for one thing and nothing more, that is to make Super Eagles win. So as far as I’m concerned whoever comes in will get the support of the players especially myself and we’ll work together to move the team upwards.
Names like Claude Le Roy and Harry Redknapp have been associated with the Eagles job. Is there any coach that you’d prefer?
I don’t have any in mind, ready to work with whoever comes in.
And what about the upcoming Olympics?
Regarding the Rio Olympics, all I can say is that it’s up to the coaches to decide which players to select for the team but as for me I’ll never shy away from playing for my country or representing it in any tournament. Hopefully Nigeria could replicate its Atlanta 1996 success in Brazil.
You know in football, transfers sometimes are complicated and player wishes don’t always win.
You made history by becoming the first Nigerian to score a brace at a senior FIFA World Cup when you netted twice against Mundial favourites Argentina at the 2014 event in Brazil, how did you feel at the time?
It was an amazing feeling and is still is. Just a bit sad that we got nothing out of the game despite our gallant display on the day, happy we were able to go through from the group alongside Argentina. Generally it was an entertaining game and I’m happy to have made history with my two goals.
You have been linked with moves to Liverpool, Arsenal and more recently Leicester City in the last January transfer window, with that do you see yourself playing in the mighty English Premier League very soon?
You know in football, transfers sometimes are complicated and player wishes don’t always win. The English Premier League is massive and every player would want to test himself in a league like that with some of the best players in the world.
The clubs you mentioned are all huge and I’ll be honoured to represent any of them. No one knows what will happen tomorrow and if at the end of the day a deal is done between my present club CSKA and an English Premier League side then it’ll be a big move.
Talking about CSKA Moscow, your team who has dominated the Russian top flight in recent seasons once again disappointed in Europe where they finished bottom in the UEFA Champions League group B. What do you think is to blame for that?
The UEFA Champions League, you know, is not an easy tournament. All the best teams on the continent jostle for the trophy.
If you look at our performances in this year’s competition you’ll notice that very few details worked against us. We played well in most of the games and were unlucky not have gotten something out of them especially against United at Old Trafford and PSV in Holland.
You’re playing against super top teams and any single mistake you make, you’ll get punished. That was what happened but as a team we learn every day and hopefully this year’s disappointment will make us better in next season’s event.
Your wife gave birth few months ago to your second child, a girl, how is the new addition to your family adapting to its new environment?
Very well, Jamila is doing very well and we are all happy especially my son Ahmed Jr. who is very fond of her.
Wish you all the best, Musa, and thank you.
Thank you too.