Former Nigeria U-17 goalkeeper Okiemute Odah who plays for Saudi Arabian Division 1 side Jeddah FC speaks exclusively to allnigeriasoccer.com‘s Izuchukwu Okosi on his move to Saudi Arabia, the major difference between the Nigerian league and Saudi Arabia’s and why he is not yet invited to the Super Eagles. Excerpt…
How does it feel missing invitations to the Super Eagles especially after the World Cup in Russia, and now qualifiers to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations?
Well .nothing really. Every player wants to play for his country but I just feel maybe is not time yet for me to play for the Super Eagles.
Do you think not playing in certain leagues around the world affects players’ chances of getting invitations to the national team?
No comment please. It’s the prerogative of the coach to decide who gets invitation to the national team
What have been the challenges so far for you in the Saudi Arabian league?
Nothing much, just missing my family and friends back in Nigeria
How do you cope with the language and new culture in general in Saudi Arabia?
Little by little I understand their ways of going things. It’s not going to be easy but I try to learn fast
You started out as a U-17 player under Coach Godwin Izilien. What has been your biggest achievement, and disappointment?
My U-17 experience was great, it opened my eyes to the tasks I will face in the future although we failed to qualify for the 2005 World Cup in Peru after the Africa U-17 Youth Championship in the Gambia. For now I will not say I have achieved my objectives or not. I am still focusing on my job
How has Ahmed Musa for instance helped you in your new base?
Ahmed Musa is a nice guy. He understands the culture better and we speak to each other on the phone from time to time on that, as well as our careers here
How many games and how clean sheets have you had so far for Jeddah FC?
I have played in nine league games and kept four clean sheets
Can you draw a comparison between the Nigeria Professional Football league and the Saudi Arabian League?
Nigeria league is more physical and the home team must win most of the time but it is not so in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi league is highly professional, tactically strong and fast.
What is your expectation from Nigeria’s representatives at next year’s CAF Champions league and Confederation Cup, Lobi Stars, your former club; and Rangers?
Good recruitment, adequate preparations and settlement of players’ entitlements
Francis Uzoho is now the first choice goalkeeper for the Super Eagles. How does that inspire you?
Yes, Francis’ rise is a big inspiration to me. I am happy for him. Hopefully I shall join him soon in the national team. It’s his time.
Thank you Okiemute for your time…
Izuchukwu Okosi is the editor of Newslegend.com.ng