Super Eagles defender Kenneth Omeruo has said that it will take a good team effort for Lionel Messi to be stopped by the African champions at the World Cup in Brazil. He is also dreaming of playing in the final on July 12.
Asked by FIFA.com how he would keep Lionel Messi at bay, Omeruo responded that he had been conducting some research on his Group F opponent.
“I watch him a lot on TV. It’s going to be a team effort to try and stop him. Everyone will have to be positive and 100 per cent focused on the game.”
With Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero all potentially lining up for La Albiceleste, the Nigerian backline will have to be particularly attentive. Omeruo’s relationship with his central defensive partner, and his coach who played in the same position during his career, should make that task easier.
“I do have a good friendship with Godfrey Oboabona off the pitch, we talk on Skype sometimes,” he said. “Before the national team I used to play with him in the Nigerian league with Sunshine Stars.
“Most times before games Stephen Keshi gives us both separate advice. He tries to psyche us up as much as possible. As well as that, he is a father who advises us. He’s a really good man to play under.”
With the World Cup on the immediate horizon, what does the future hold for the youngster after Brazil?
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Omeruo said. “It would be nice to go back to Middlesbrough, it’s a good environment with good people around. I like the manager.
“Obviously we’ll have to see how the World Cup goes and my first priority is to stay with Chelsea. From playing in training with John Terry, Gary Cahill and David Luiz I just want to put myself in there, try to learn from them and correct anything I’m not doing right.”
Omeruo’s focus and dedication to learning from others are admirable traits, and if his enthusiasm and ambition rub off onto his Nigeria team-mates, then the Super Eagles could be the first African side to reach the final four of world football’s showpiece event.
“I’m hoping we’ll get to the Final,” Omeruo responded when asked how far his side would go in Brazil. “But I think at least the semi-finals.”