Friday, March 02, 2012

I psyched up myself for Rwanda - Uzoenyi

Enugu Rangers' winger, Ejike Uzoenyi has told that he had to subconsciously fire up himself for the 2013 Afcon qualifying against Rwanda.

The petite winger confessed to on Thursday that his heart skipped when his name was announced among the starting 11 for Wednesday's game at the Stade Regionale de Nyamirambo in Kigali.

"Yes I was shocked to know I would be starting the game. I was also under pressure because I was sure if I didn't start I would have ended up on the bench since I was dressed for the game.

"So when the first-team squad was announced and my name was in there, I just told myself I needed to do this not for myself alone but also for my fellow home-based players.

"Also I became convinced that I can make things happen as I relaxed myself (during the game) as well as remembered what the coach (Stephen Keshi) always said to us about always being ready to play," the former Gateway FC man told

Uzoenyi, who turns 20 on March 23, also got plaudit from an assistant of Keshi, whom he did not want to name.

"Yes one of the assistant coaches told me I had a good game but that he believes I can do more," he disclosed.

The winger acknowledged that he has to reproduce a better performance in subsequent games to worm his way into the hearts of his countrymen.

"Now I have to work hard to give better performance whenever I get the chance to play," he remarked.

However, Uzoenyi's sparkling performance against Rwanda in mid-week could come with a cost for Nigeria Premier League (NPL) leaders, Enugu Rangers.

The winger suffered a knock on his right knee and will have to be checked ahead of his club's home game against Lobi Stars on Sunday.

"Right now I am not so strong because of the shock on my right knee. So I don't know (if I will play) till I get to Enugu," he revealed.

However, the attacking winger is not totally ruling out himself from Sunday's NPL game in Enugu.

"If I'm okay I will play for my club," he promised.

Uzoenyi was the shining light in Keshi's squad that faced Rwanda and almost capped his performance with a goal until goalkeeper Jean Claude Ndori denied him that one moment.

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