Super Eagles star Simon Moses is hopeful that he would be at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt after agonizingly missing out of the Russia 2018 World Cup due to injury.
Simon who scored Nigeria’s last goal in the qualifying series for the AFCON told PREMIUM TIMES his dream at Africa’s biggest football tournament.
The fleet-footed forward also spoke about life in the Spanish LaLiga and how marriage and fatherhood have made him a better player.
PT: Can you tell us how the season is going for you in the LaLiga with Levante
Simon: Everything is going well though I did not start playing quickly because I had to learn their tradition, language, and information.
I had to know people there to share some ideas and try everything possible to concentrate on getting the job done.
PT: With the few games remaining, what is your target for the rest of the season with Levante
Simon: My target for the rest of the season is to help my team remain in the Primera La Liga and at least finish the season mid-table.
PT: You played in Slovakia, then in Belgium, how does it feel playing in the same League with superstars in the LaLiga now
Simon: I will say it is a thing of joy, I feel so happy and I thank God for the opportunity given to me. You all know that La Liga is one of the best leagues in the world, so I am proud that I can play in the league that host some of the best players in the world and I hope that I can learn more from them
PT: Can you tell us your biggest moments in the LaLiga so far.
Simon: Playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi is unbelievable and a thing of joy for me. Before now, we only watched him play and he was a joy to behold but having him on the same pitch with myself playing against each other at Camp Nou was very great, seeing them face to face is like a dream come true
PT: … And your Lowest moments in La Liga
Simon: If I were to call any period my lowest moment, it would be when I joined La Liga newly. but I don’t think I will call it that instead, I would say it was a time of adapting and adjusting to a new system and a new country and I needed to do that if I hoped to thrive in the league
PT: Nigeria is returning to the Africa Cup of Nations after missing out on back-to-back editions of the tournament. What is the target in Egypt?
Simon: Normal, for the team, the target is to win the Nations Cup. But we all know that we have to work so hard and do everything possible to meet that target. It is not going to be easy because we are going to be facing some strong opposition, but the spirit in the team is very high and we are going there to make the country proud
PT: Do you actually want to avoid any team in the group stage of the AFCON
Simon: No, I do not have any preferences or the inclination to avoid any team, we the Super Eagles have all that it takes to take on any team.
We have the quality, young players who are hungry for trophies and ready to play. I don’t think we are scared of any team
PT: You narrowly missed out on a chance to play at the World Cup due to injury. Have you gotten over that big miss?
Simon: At that moment I felt sad because as I had the injury, I knew I was out of the World Cup. It was something I can never forget in my life.
I worked so hard with the team to achieve the qualification from the beginning to the end, so I was really devastated.
The dream did not come through for me and my family, but I later consoled myself.
First, I am still very young and I also believe that everything works together for good. I decided to concentrate on myself and continue to work so hard.
PT: There were insinuations that you could still have played at the World Cup but the coach didn’t take you along, do you feel bad about that?
Simon: It would have been a waste if I had gone to the World Cup. The result of the final test showed that I would return before the second round and the team didn’t qualify for the round of 16, so I wouldn’t have been of any help to the team even if I had gone.
PT: The AFCON is another opportunity for you to represent the country at a major event. How are you looking forward to it?
Simon: I will say I am not the coach, so I will have to continue to work hard to be part of the final list that will be heading to Egypt for the AFCON. I’m back at my club now and will continue to do everything that will make the coach select me for the competition. I will continue to work hard on the areas I’m deficient and improve on my game.
PT: Since leading Nigeria at the World Cup, Captain John Mikel Obi is yet to feature for the Super Eagles. Do we still need him around
Simon: Mikel is very important to the team, really important, he calms the ball. I hope he will be fit for the Nations Cup because we need him.
PT: Finally, would you say being married and now a father has had any effect on your football career
Simon: Yes, being married and a father has an effect on my performance. There is a big difference because it makes me concentrate more and sometimes when I feel down and really don’t know what to do, I have a partner that encourages me and helps me or shows me what to do.