As the Super Eagles return to Nigeria following their defeat by Argentina in their last game of the group stage at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, one of the outstanding players for the country at the tournament, Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi spoke with NAIJALIFE on the performance of the team and the excitement created by Coca-Cola’s ‘Issa Goal’ remix.
How do you feel to be part of Super Eagle team that participated at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia?
I feel very great. It’s a dream come through for me because it’s a dream of every football player to represent their country at the World Cup. It’s a privilege to have been a member of the team and I thank God for the opportunity.
Coca-Cola is the official drink of the Super Eagles and you are one of the players on the brand’s commercials across Nigeria. How do you feel seeing your face on Coca-Cola bottles?
It’s surreal. Since we returned, I’ve seen these bottles all over the place and it’s not just my face on the bottles, but all of us Super Eagles players – I believe it’s an apt celebration of what football means to the nation. Coca-Cola has helped rally Nigerians together in our love for football and I applaud them. I encourage people to go out there and collect each of the Coca-Cola limited edition bottles of the Super Eagles. I have collected them all. It’s representative of Nigeria at this year’s World Cup.
Against Argentina, the team played well but we did not qualify for the knockout stage because we needed a win or at least a draw to qualify. What do you think we should have done better?
Yes, we played very well against Argentina but we should have done better against Croatia. The game did not ended the way we wanted against Argentina but we are happy that game brought lot of excitement to Nigerians. Across social media, Nigerians celebrated every moment of the tournament with us. We hope for bigger things ahead.
Coca-Cola’s ‘Issa Goal’ remix has been one of the biggest commercials this World Cup season. How did the team reacted to the song?
We listened to it every day while in Russia. In fact, some of our team mates – John Ogu and Kenneth Omeru – took us on some shaku shaku steps (smiles). While preparing for our game against Iceland, we entertained ourselves with the song. Football fans from other countries also dance along with us.
Can you sing it? Let’s see if you can get it right.
Oh yes I can, but not too well. I’m mentioned in the song you know…
We hear you’re going to be hanging out with fans today at “RussiaInLagos”- what can your fans expect today?
Yes, Coca-Cola is bringing the excitement of being in Russia to Lagos at their viewing centers. I will be at the Coca-Cola RussiaInLagos viewing center this afternoon at the Eko Atlantic so fans should come out to watch the matches with me. I have some gifts for them and they will get to take photos with me. I’m fully available to our Super Eagles fans today thanks to Coca-Cola! I hope to see you all there.
Which team do you think will win the World Cup?
England. I believe they have the right quality of players to win the tournament. Also, I play in the English Premier League and I have lot of friends in the team.
Any final words?
Many thanks to Coca-Cola. They rose to the occasion and continue to support the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Super Eagles. Beyond that, they have gone the extra mile to send selected teenagers and fans to experience Russia live. The viewing centers and Issa Goal remix are just toppings on the cake. It’s great to have a global brand support Nigerian achievement. Issa Goal!