Nasarawa United striker Abdulrahman Bashir who was part of the NPFL All Star team coached by Salisu Yusuf in the La Liga World Trofeo Ramon de Carranza Pre season friendlies against Cadiz, Malaga and Atletico Madrid where he had a great individual performance despite three defeats against the Spanish sides spoke exclusively to NEWSLEGEND.COM.NG editor IZUCHUKWU OKOSI on his experience in Spain and reveals that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is his iconic figure in the game. Excerpts.
The Nigeria Professional Football League is just one round of game away from conclusion. What has been the highlight of the season for you?
Being selected to be part of the All Star team that represented the NPFL in Spain this summer. That meant that my
efforts were appreciated and can get better because we played against clubs that paraded sone of the finest players
You scored the only goal for the NPFL All Stars’ in the 2-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid in Spain. How big was the experience for you?
It was massive. Nothing like this has ever happened in Nigerian league football and I’m excited to be part of the
team. We lost against teams that paraded the likes of Fernando Torres, Nicolas Gaitan and others but nonetheless the
positives will help the players going forward.
The way you scored your goal, making it 1-1 at the time, finishing with aplomb may have have made you one of the ‘most wanted’ Nigerian league players now as the January the transfer window approaches. Would the exposure mean that Bashir is set for a move possibly to Spain?
I would not comment on that for now. I’m still a player of Nasarawa United. I don’t know what the future holds for
me but despite losing all three games in Spain there were some nice comments from the clubs we played…about us,
not just me.
Would you say the absence of the Enyimba players from your last match against Atletico contributed to the defeat?
Well somewhat it did, not because I’m certain we would have upset Atletico but we may not have conceded one of the
goals or lost several scoring chances because their presence would have helped, you know.
You have scored 13 league goals this season. Do you feel you could have scored more?
Absolutely I feel I can score more goals I mean that is what every striker hopes for. My target is to be the top
scorer in the league this season.
Are you satisfied by Nasarawa United’s campaign in the NPFL this season?
we wanted to win the league title as you would expect but that obvuiously it will not happen this season because we are in the 9th place with 10 points behind leaders Enugu Rangers. I am particularly not happy because I felt okay if we cant win the title at least we can the continental tickets at the end of season. We knew it will not be an easy task but there was optimism and determination.
And so Rangers are point away from winning the league title in 32 years...
Yes congratulations to them if they defeat El Kanemi…
Which player (defender) have been the most difficult you played against this season?
That should be the duo of Chinedu Udoji and Ike Thankgod. They were difficult to play against, clearly the two are
among the best in the league right now.
There is now greater interest in the Nigerian league by the fans. Which areas do you think need improvement?
well I comemded the LMC for their impact. They have really tried and we still urge them to try more and see that
players’ welfare is taken even more seriously.
The aim of most players in the Nigerian league is to play in the national teams but recently Nigeria lost Stephen Keshi who gave the home-based players opportunities as coach of the Super Eagles. Were you worried the new coach (Gernot Rhor) may not give you guys same chance?
The death of Stephen Keshi was a huge loss to Nigerian football. We all looked forward to achieving our goals just
like he did. Yes he gave the home-based the chance they craved for and that was great but hopefully the new coach
will also do same because we have great players in the league too. I’m not worried. Everybody has his time.
Most players in the Nigerian league are usually in a hurry to leave for abroad. What is the mindset of players in the league: to go abroad and make a better living or perhaps you guys would remain back home if the same standard was here?
Yes, every player wants to go abroad because what we are collecting as salaries here is not good at all. Even when
you have contract they can sack you anytime. But if we had the same standards here in Nigeria as we have them abroad
nobody would like to leave to go outside Nigeria. English players rarely go abroad is it not so…
Nigeria are grouped with Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers which starts in October. They are Very strong African powerhouses in football. Do you think there is any hope for Nigeria?
We are really in a difficult group but I hope we escape it and qualify for the World Cup. The failure to qualify for
the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations still hurt so hopefully that will spur us to go for it. Yes the recent
disappointments in our football should be the motivation the team needs.
Which games are your best and worst this season?
My best game so far this season was the match against Abia Warriors at home in which I scored brace. My worst game
should be against MFM which we lost at home.
Where did you play before Nasarawa United?
I played for ABS, Enyimba and Lobi Stars before Nasarawa.
Which Nigerian, African or world football legend is your inspiration? y
Wayne Rooney is my hero. Rooney is the striker I look up to as a striker. We have had so many great strikers in
Nigeria, my contemporaries and those before me but I want to be as great as these guys were or even surpass their
Thank you for your time Abdulrahman
It is my pleasure